ASSAB 2016: July 5-8th, Katoomba, NSW

Registration and abstract submission OPEN

Due to the Carrington Hotel’s capacity of 120 conference delegates, there are only a few places left. Please register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!

Travel Awards and Student Grants

ASSAB Undergraduate Travel Awards: for students to attend our conference

ASSAB Student Grants 2016: APPLY NOW


Delegates at ASSAB 2014 conference, Katoomba

Delegates at ASSAB 2014 conference, Katoomba



Faculty Positions

Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Margdarshi Fellowships 2016 [March 27, 2016]

The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance invites application for the Margdarshi Fellowship scheme. The scheme provides a unique opportunity for visionary biomedical scientists to lead and nucleate a cutting edge research program in India in collaboration with Indian Host Institution(s). The potential candidates and the Host Institution are encouraged to make a synergistic effort towards establishing a centre of excellence that aims to improve the existing scientific breadth and utilizes the experience of the lead applicant for developing new research platforms. In addition to this, under this programme two eligible Indian institutions may also come together towards creating a new program under the leadership of a visionary scientist.


Interested applicants must

  • Have around 10 years of experience as independent investigator, and can be of any age or nationality
  • Have Sponsor(s) at not-for-profit Host Institution(s) in India, who is willing to extend the desired commitment and resources for program implementation


The 5 year Fellowship provides

  • Generous personal support for the Fellow
  • Salary support for personnel, which may include Assistant Professors
  • Large quantum of funds for equipment, animals and consumables
  • Funds to attend scientific gatherings, for collaborative visits and to organize meetings
  • Overheads for the Host Institution


A joint online application is invited from the Applicant and the Sponsor(s). The details of the scheme and the funding mechanism are available on the website at http://wellcomedbt.org/fellowshiptype/margdarshi-fellowships.

Application form can be accessed at https://fellowships.wellcomedbt.org/Login.aspx

Sponsored applications due by 2 May 2016

Send your inquiries to margdarshi@wellcomedbt.org

Two Assistant Professorships, The Department of Biology, The University of Texas at Tyler [March 26, 2016]

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: We seek applicants with expertise in synthetic biology emphasizing biomedical applications. Any area of synthetic biology with biomedical emphasis will be considered including, but not limited to, disease mechanisms, vaccine development, production of pharmaceuticals and therapeutics, treatment of infections and diseases, microbiome engineering, cell therapy, regenerative medicine, etc. The incumbent is required to establish a strong, extramurally funded research program in his/her area of expertise.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in a relevant field (synthetic biology, genomics, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, etc.) with a minimum of two years of  postdoctoral experience in synthetic biology. (ii) Demonstrated research creativity, productivity, and grantsmanship. (iii) Ability to develop a strong, extramurally-funded research program. (iv) Demonstrated record of collaborative research (v) Evidence of effective teaching and other communication skills. (vi) Teaching experience at undergraduate or graduate levels is highly desirable.

INSECT EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY: Any area of evolutionary ecology will be considered but preference will be given to candidates using integrative approaches and cutting-edge technologies, and addressing broad questions  in evolution. The incumbent is required to establish a strong, extramurally funded research program in his/her area of expertise.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in a relevant field (entomology, evolution, ecology, population genetics, etc.) with a minimum of two years of  postdoctoral experience. (ii) Demonstrated research creativity, productivity, and grantsmanship. (iii) Ability to develop a strong, extramurally-funded research program. (iv) Demonstrated record of collaborative research (v) Evidence of effective teaching and other communication skills. (vi) Teaching experience at undergraduate or graduate levels is highly desirable.

Available resources: The Department of Biology offers a stimulating intellectual environment and has an excellent reputation in research and teaching. Twelve faculty members undertake research in diverse sub-disciplines, including genomics, bioinformatics, population genetics, evolution, ecology, neurobiology, microbiology, molecular biology, and physiology. Research seminars by invited speakers are held weekly. The multidisciplinary Center for Environment, Biodiversity, and Conservation is housed in the Department of Biology. A major Center for Excellence in biomedical sciences and synthetic biology is in the planning stages. A new expansion with state-of-the-art research and teaching labs has just been completed along with renovation of all existing teaching labs. Three large and sophisticated walk-in environmental chambers are available for research as is a confocal microscope.  A computer lab connects UT Tyler to the Texas Advanced Computer Center via a 10 Gb internet connection. The School of Pharmacy opened its doors in August 2015. Shared equipment and facilities, including a brand new vivarium, are available at UT Tyler’s sister institution, the University of Texas Health Northeast. For additional information, please visit www.uttyler.edu/biology.

Location: Tyler is located 90 miles east of Dallas in the scenic Piney Woods area of East Texas. Tyler is the cultural center of East Texas, a region with over one million people, and boasts many amenities such as museums, a planetarium, a ballet, a symphony orchestra, and a renowned performing arts center. One of the 14 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 8,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

Applications: Please include (as a single PDF file) a) cover letter; b) detailed curriculum vitae; c) statement of research interests and professional goals, d) statement of teaching interests and philosophy; e) reprints of 3 relevant publications and email to. Dr. Lance Williams (Synthetic Biology) at lwilliams@uttyler.edu or Dr. John Placyk, (Evolutionary Ecology) at jplacyk@uttyler.edu. Additionally, please arrange to have 3 reference letters sent to the same addresses.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until a suitable candidate is found. Start date is negotiable. Apply here

Professorship, The University of Konstanz [March 26, 2016]

The University of Konstanz, with its “Institutional Strategy to promote Top-Level Research”, has been receiving continuous funding since 2007 within the framework of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments.

The Movement Ecology Cluster is a joint venture of the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society to decode the general mechanisms and principles of movement and collective behavior from the cellular to the population level.

For this cluster, the University of Konstanz is filling as soon as possible the following positions:

W3-Professor of Organismal Interactions
Job Offer 2016/054)

W3-Professor of Limnology / Aquatic Ecology
Job Offer 2016/055)

W3-Professoof Genetic Adaptations in Aquatic Systems
Job Offer 2016 /056)

All application materials (curriculum vitae, publication list, a list of grants and awards, details of teaching experience, as well as statements of current research topics, future research directions and interests) should be sent as one pdf file and in English to Prof-2016-054@uni-konstanz.de, or Prof-2016-055@uni-konstanz.de or Prof-2016-56@uni-konstanz.de until 15 April 2016.

Further information is available on our website: http://www.uni-konstanz.de/stellen or by contacting Hanns Fahlbusch, phone +49(0)7531/88-2413, e-mail: hanns.fahlbusch@uni-konstanz.de.

Faculty Position in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester [March 26, 2016]

The Department of Biology at the University of Rochester invites applications for an open rank faculty position in ecology & evolutionary biology.  We are seeking candidates working in evolutionary and ecological genomics, broadly defined, who have a strong computational component to their research.

The successful candidate will contribute to the Department’s existing strengths in evolutionary genetics and genomics and benefit from state of the art infrastructure and core facilities at the University, as well as the newly established Goergen Institute for Data Science.

Candidates with a strong record of accomplishment should upload application materials to our online application system.  Complete applications include: a CV; a statement of research interests/plans; pdfs of three publications; and a statement of teaching experiences and interests.  We anticipate the individual will be active in both research and teaching in computational biology. Instructions for supplying three letters of recommendation are provided on the application website.  Review of applications will begin March 9 and continue until the position is filled.

Closes on April 20, 2016



Graduate Positions

PhD position, How do ants learn to navigate? Macquarie University, Sydney [March 17, 2016]

The project will investigate the onset of foraging behaviour in ants with emphasis on the choreography of learning walks and on how the synaptic complexity in the brain changes with age and with exposure to different sensory information. There will be opportunities to learn state-of-art neuroanatomical techniques and fine scale insect tracking methods. This project will require some curiosity and some degree of bravado as the large-eyed Australian Myrmecia (aka bull ants, inch ants, jack jumpers) will be the focus of this project.

Applicants should be enthusiastic about experimental field oriented research. Candidates with a background in microscopy, anatomy or neurobiology are particularly encouraged to apply.

The student will join the Ecological Neuroscience Group [http://ecologicalneuroscience.com] at the Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney under the supervision of Dr Ajay Narendra and Dr Franne Kamhi. This project will be supported through the Australian Research Council’s Schemes of Future Fellowship and Discovery Project.

Scholarship information is here

Start date: September/October 2016

To register an Expression of Interest, contact Dr Ajay Narendra [ajay.narendra@mq.edu.au] along with your CV.

PhD position, Crustacean vision: adaptable eyes for extreme changes in light, University of Bristol [March 16, 2016]

Photographers are familiar with the idea of controlling exposure by adjusting shutter speed and aperture, thus altering the amount of light that hits the camera chip. Most complex animal eyes have evolved to do something similar. For example, in humans the size of the iris and the sensitivity of the underlying light receptors and neurons can be quickly tuned, thereby allowing us to see in light levels varying by over 100 million times, from dark starlit nights to bright sunny days.

Crustaceans are no exception. Their compound eyes are composed of hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of repeated eye units (ommatidia) each viewing a different area in the world around. Each one of these ommatidia needs to adapt to local light conditions and does this using a system of moveable screening pigments within the light-sensitive cells. The intricacies of how crustaceans deal with rapidly changing light environments is not well understood. For example, many species (such as fiddler crabs) have eyes with very wide fields of view. This means that, while part of the eye could be experiencing very high light levels (e.g. in the direction of the sun), another part could be in the dark. How eyes simultaneously adapt different parts of their eyes to different light levels is relatively unknown. There are also suggestions that light adaptation in the eye of fiddler crabs could alter their sensitivity to the polarization of light.

This project will address key questions around how crustacean eyes deal with changing light levels. The student will take a multi-scale approach using a wide range of techniques, ranging from micro-anatomical studies using electron microscopy, through to behavioural experiments in the animal’s natural environment in Spain, Panama, and Australia.

The student will join the Ecology of Vision Group (www.ecologyofvision.com) at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, under the supervision of Dr Martin How and Dr Nicholas Roberts. The group currently hosts one principal investigator, two research fellows, two postdocs, and four PhD students, all working on diverse aspects of animal visual ecology.

Eligibility criteria: At least an upper second-class honours degree (e.g. MSci) or equivalent. Applicants with a good BSc degree may be considered if they can demonstrate very good potential for research. A keen interest in animal sensory ecology is essential, as well as demonstrable lab and fieldwork skills.

Scholarship details: This studentship is fully funded by the Royal Society, covering full UK/EU PhD tuition fees, research costs, and an annual stipend of £14,057. This award is available to UK/EU applicants only, unless suitable top-up funding can be identified for international candidates. If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 6.5, or equivalent.

Start date: March-Sept 2016

Informal enquiries: Dr Martin J How (m.how@bristol.ac.uk)

Note: It’s funding for EU applicants only, so topup would be required for international.

Application Details: To apply for this studentship submit a PhD application using our online application system [http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply]

Two PhD Scholarships: Honeybee behaviour and welfare. Macquarie University, Sydney [Oct 22, 2015]

Two Macquarie University PhD scholarships available for international and Australian domestic applicants in honey bee behaviour and welfare:

a. Examining mechanisms of cognition and goal-directed behaviour in honey bees: This project in cognitive neuroethology will examine how honey bees learn and process complex stimuli and choose and enact the most appropriate behavioural response. It will focus on visual learning, stimulus classification, resolution of uncertainty, goal-directed behaviour or operant learning and involve a combination of behavioural analyses, neural imaging and neuropharmacology. It will suit applicants with training in neurobiology. The project is aligned with a Future Fellowship Grant awarded to Andrew Barron to model functions of the bee brain. The new experimental data generated in this project will be used to synergistically test and improve models of brain function.

b. Improving honey bee health: The project will study the process of colony decline and failure in order to identify colonies at risk of collapse early and the best interventions to rescue colonies.  It will involve longitudinal detailed monitoring of colony growth and performance using new sensor technologies, and examination of impacts of pesticide and pathogen stressors on bees and colonies. The project is a collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture, and universities in the USA.

For more information on the research activities of the lab visit:


Scholarship details are given here:


To register an expression of interest contact Andrew Barron: Andrew.Barron@mq.edu.au


Field Assistant Positions

Volunteer position for work on dingoes in central Kimberley (AWC sanctuary)

We will be conducting a field study in June and July 2016 (exact dates to be determined but most likely 11 June – 9 July ) on dingo behaviours and vocal communication. We are looking for a volunteer to help out with audio recordings and playback experiments.

The position is unpaid, but travel costs (from Sydney), food and accommodation (camping) expenses are covered.

If you are interested, please send a CV, a cover letter addressing the selection criteria listed below and the contact details of two references (letters of reference can be added), to Eloise Deaux [eloise.deauxATmq.edu.au]. Informal enquiries should be sent to the same address.

Applications review will start now and continue until the position is filled.


Essential selection criteria:

  • Undergraduate studies in wildlife biology, animal behaviour, zoology or related field
  • Be available for the whole fieldwork season
  • Be physically fit as the work will involve spending long hours in the field (late/early at night)
  • Be able to remain quiet and still for long periods of time
  • Be able to work with little supervision and show initiative
  • Be able to handle isolation, as we will be in a remote location with little to no connection (no internet or phone reception most times) and to live with basic amenities only.
  • Bushwalking experience
  • Full driver license

Desirable selection criteria:

  • Experienced in using audio recording equipment/conducting animal studies
  • 4WD driving and navigation skills
Superb fairy-wren volunteer field assistant positions

We are looking for field assistants to help monitor a colour-banded population of superb fairy-wrens near Melbourne, Australia for a study on animal personalities.

Time periods: Four-month minimum, commencing early September, or early January.

Duties include catching birds for personality testing before and after the breeding season (Oct-Jan), and regular censusing of colour-banded birds during the breeding season, searching for and monitoring nests, behavioural observations, video analysis, and data proofing. Working days are long, with early starts six days a week. Enthusiasm, self-motivation, and a strong work ethic are a must.

The study is based at Serendip Sanctuary, a small reserve with abundant birdlife on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Qualifications: experience monitoring colour-banded birds, nest-searching, and mist-netting. Must also be early riser, physically fit, able to work in extreme weather conditions, and enjoy basic shared living conditions.

Onsite accommodation in a house with shared dorm-style room is provided, but assistants cover travel to the site and their own food costs. The project will reimburse up to AU$750/mo towards receipted food and travel expenses.

For more information contact: Timon van Asten (t.van@unimelb.edu.au). To apply, please email a letter outlining previous relevant field research experience, and a resume including names and contact information for 3 referees that are familiar with your mist-netting and/or nest-searching experience.


Upcoming Conferences

2016. July 2- 9. 20th International Congress of Arachnology. Colorado, USA

2016. July 28-August 5, International Society of Behavioural Ecology Conference, Exeter, UK

2016. August. 8th World Congress of Herpetology, Hangzhou, China

2016. September 25-30. International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, Florida, USA

2018. July 12-14. Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour Conference, Brisbane, Australia.

2018. July 16-20. International Congress of Neuroethology, Brisbane, Australia

2018. International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Guarujá, Brazil.


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