PhD position available!
A fully funded position is available to study the social regulation of stinging behaviour of honeybees. Honeybees defend their nest against large predators thanks to a collective effort to harass and sting the intruder. The stinger apparatus has evolved to detach upon stinging elastic skin (such as ours) to maximize venom delivery, but the drawback is that the mutilated bee then dies within a few hours. Thus, the colony under threat must achieve a delicate balance: enough bees need to respond that the intruder is successfully deterred, but without unnecessarily depleting the colony of its workforce. The aim of this project is to understand how this balance is reached. In particular, it focuses on how each individual bee takes the decision to attack or not, depending on the social information that it receives. We aim for an integrative approach, ranging from behavioural experiments and modelling to neuroanatomy and pharmacology.
The University of Konstanz is a leading institution for research, and is one of the 11 Universities of Excellence in Germany. The team is hosted within the lab of Pr. Galizia, which has extensive expertise on insect neurobiology, especially olfaction (https://neuro.uni-konstanz.de/). The candidate will be enroled in the graduate school of the IMPRS for Organismal Biology (https://www.orn.mpg.de/2453/Short_portrait).Furthermore, the PhD candidate will benefit from the newly established Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour at the university (https://www.exc.uni-konstanz.de/collective-behaviour/).
We are seeking a highly motivated student with a background in biology. Previous experience in neurobiology, invertebrate behaviour/physiology or video-tracking analysis would be advantageous. Fluency in English is mandatory, German is not required. We particularly encourage candidates with a streak of independence, and we will support initiatives to develop the project into interesting new directions.
Please apply via the IMPRS website: https://www.orn.mpg.de/projects
Don't hesitate to contact us if you like what we are researching and want to join us for an internship or even a PhD. Motivated students are always welcome!