Delegates at ASSAB 2014 conference, Katoomba

Delegates at ASSAB 2014 conference, Katoomba


Message from ASSAB President: 2015



Faculty Positions

Fixed term full-time Postdoctoral position (Level A), School of BioSciences (Faculty of Science), University of Melbourne [May 21, 2015]

The Research Fellow will be responsible for designing, executing, and analysing field and laboratory experiments, as part of the research project “The dark side of night: species and community impacts of night lighting”, which is funded by an ARC Discovery grant.

The research is part of an international collaboration between the University of Melbourne (Dr Therésa Jones and Prof Mark Elgar), the University of Exeter (Prof Kevin Gaston) and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (Prof Marcel Visser).

The position is located at The University of Melbourne and reports to the Chief Investigator.

Salary: $64,863* – $88,016 p.a. (*PhD entry Level $81,998 p.a.) plus 9.5% superannuation

Contact: Dr Therésa Jones, Senior Lecturer – The Behaviour and Evolution Group, The School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia. Tel: +61 (0)3 90359576


Tenured professorship in Neurobiology, University of Würzburg [March 22, 2015]

The position (equivalent to tenured associate professorship) is integrated into the Department of Behavioral Physiology & Sociobiology (Zoology II) at the Biocenter, University of Würzburg. The successful candidate should have an internationally competitive research record on the neuronal mechanisms and/or the evolution of insect behavior. This might include aspects of intra- and inter-species interactions and/or behavioral timing. The research focus should complement existing research fields both thematically and methodologically. Research interests with high potential for interactions with the emerging Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology will be considered preferentially. Expectations include active contributions to the DFG collaborative research center (SFB 1047) “Insect timing: mechanisms, plasticity and interactions”, and participation in the establishment of new collaborative research programs.

Teaching responsibilities include basic and advanced seminars and courses for bachelor, master and teacher (biology) students in animal physiology, behavioral sciences, neurobiology, and evolutionary biology. The Biocenter of the University of Würzburg offers an excellent scientific environment with unique opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.

Requirements for the position include an adequate university degree, a proven record of teaching, a doctoral degree, habilitation or equivalent academic qualifications earned via a junior professorship or from outside the university.

The University of Würzburg is an equal opportunity employer. The university seeks to increase the number of women in teaching and research and strongly encourages applications of qualified women. Handicapped candidates are also encouraged to apply and will be treated preferentially if qualified equally.

Please submit your application electronically and as a hardcopy by 3 April 2015, following the directions on our website (http://www.dekanat.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de).

Dekan der Fakultät für Biologie
Biozentrum, Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg, Germany

Starting date: April 2016


Graduate Positions

PhD Scholarship: Population ecology and behaviour of yellow-eyed penguins, Massey University, NZ [June 30, 2015]

New Zealand is a world hotspot for penguin biodiversity. The yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is endemic to New Zealand and restricted to the south of the South Island, Stewart Island/Rakiura, the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island/Motu Ihupuku. There are estimated to be < 2000 breeding pairs with ~60% of the entire species breeding on New Zealand’s subantarctic islands. The NZ subantarctic is considered a breeding stronghold, however there are no recent estimates of population size, health or foraging ecology of yellow-eyed penguins at the Auckland Islands.

A PhD scholarship is available to study the abundance, density and distribution of yellow-eyed penguins at Enderby Island and across the Auckland Islands. Population estimates across this range will be analysed taking into account factors such as predation (from pigs and feral cats on the main Auckland Island), foraging behaviour and health (particularly looking at diseases and bacteria transferred between wild populations, such as Toxoplasmosis between cats and wildlife, or Leucocytozoon).  This research would be the first population biology work for this species on the NZ subantarctic Auckland Islands and can be compared with a significant research base on their behaviour and biology from the NZ mainland.

Selection criteria: This PhD project will be primarily based at Massey University Palmerston North with annual field work of between 6 weeks to 3 months on the Auckland Islands, NZ subantarctics. We seek an ecologist who is hard-working and enthusiastic. The ideal candidate will have some remote field experience, a demonstrated ability to work independently and well-developed organisational skills. Preference will be given to applicants with at least one first-authored publication.

Scholarship/application details: The successful candidate will be awarded a PhD stipend for three years. Prospective students should have a first class honours or a Masters degree, and will need to meet Massey University entrance requirements.  Applicants should send an email to Dr B Louise Chilvers (b.l.chilvers@massey.ac.nz) and Dr Phil Battley (p.battley@massey.ac.nz) including: 1) a CV; 2) academic record (subjects and marks); 3) a one-page summary of your research interests and career goals; and 4) details of 3 referees (including any previous research supervisors). Closing date for applications is 31 July 2015.

PhD scholarship in Applied Animal Behaviour/Acoustics & Signal Processing, University of Canterbury, NZ [June 30, 2015]

A PhD scholarship in the area of Applied Animal Behaviour is available at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand). The candidate would participate in a project developing acoustic methods to develop insect detection and classification techniques through signal processing to improve border biosecurity and mitigate biological invasions. This project, which aims to begin in July 2015 (or as soon as possible), will be conducted as a partnership between Dr Ximena Nelson from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury, Dr Michael Hayes from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Canterbury, and Drs Eckehard Brockerhoff and Stephen Pawson, from Scion, the New Zealand Forest Research Institute.

All applicants must be technologically able and should have completed a Master’s degree or equivalent (with a substantial thesis component) in a relevant discipline. Candidates with experience working with acoustics and signal processing, preferably with a strong biological background, will be particularly welcome. The award stipend is $26,500 (New Zealand dollars) per annum, and tuition fees are covered. Tenure is 3.5 years full-time, subject to satisfactory progress. Because New Zealand PhDs do not include coursework this is sufficient time within which to complete the degree.

For further information contact eckehard.brockerhoff@scionresearch.com,  michael.hayes@canterbury.ac.nz,  or ximena.nelson@canterbury.ac.nz.

Dr Ximena Nelson, Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Ph: 64 3 3642987 x 4050. Fax: 64 3 364 2590. http://www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz/people/nelson.shtmlhttp://ximenanelson.weebly.com/index.html

Expression of Interest for PhD project – Honey bee Resilience, Macquarie University, Sydney [June 24, 2015]

Expressions of interest are invited from Australian domestic or international postgraduate students wishing to undertake research and study towards a PhD in the area of honey bee resilience. The project will involve field analysis of the impact of controlled pesticide and pathogen stressors on honey bee colony growth and development, modeling of colony performance, and research towards identification of the best methods to monitor colony health and most effective field interventions to boost colony populations.

The project is a collaboration between Dr William G. Meikle at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Dr Andrew B. Barron at Macquarie University, Sydney.  The research program is funded jointly by the USDA and Macquarie University.  The successful application would be enrolled in a PhD program through Macquarie University, but should expect to make several research visits to the USDA laboratories in Tucson, Arizona.

The successful candidate would receive an IMQRES scholarship from Macquarie University.  This covers the costs of all tuition, and provides a living stipend for three years.  In 2014 the 2014 MQRES full-time stipend rate was $25,392 AUD pa tax exempt for 3 years.

Prospective PhD applicants should have completed the equivalent of Macquarie University’s Master of Research (MRes) degree, MPhil or other 2 year Masters degree with a major research component with excellent results. Refer to the HDR Entry Criteria for more information about this.

To be eligible for a PhD scholarship applicants would be expected to have a record of excellent academic performance, especially in the research Masters degree, and additional relevant research experience and/or peer-reviewed research activity, awards and/or prizes in line with the University’s scholarship rating guidelines. Refer to the HDR Scholarship Requirements for more information about this

To lodge an expression of interest applicants should email Andrew Barron: Andrew.Barron@mq.edu.au attaching an academic CV and the details of two referees.


PhD Scholarship: Lizard Personality, Learning and Metabolism, University of New South Wales, Sydney [March 21, 2015]

Dr. Daniel Noble and A/Professor Shinichi Nakagawa in the Evolution & Research Centre (E&ERC), at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic student to study the covariation between metabolism, personality and learning in a model Australian lizard system. The student will join a newly formed lab group at UNSW and be part of an exciting multidisciplinary team building links between environmentally driven effects on phenotypic variation and the consequences of these effects on fitness. The student will combine theory with extensive experimental work manipulating incubation temperatures, taking behavioural and physiological measures, and establishing controlled semi-natural breeding experiments to obtain multigenerational data. They will use cutting edge molecular (e.g. SNP genotyping) and statistical tools (e.g. meta-analysis, Bayesian and individual-based modeling) during their candidature to address important topical questions in evolutionary and behavioural ecology.  The student will also work with collaborators from Macquarie University, Sydney University, and The Australian National University in addition to other research groups at UNSW. We expect the student to travel to both international and national conferences to present the results of their work during their candidature.

If you are interested in joining our exciting project at E&ERC, UNSW please send an email with an expression of interest, why you are interested in joining the lab and your CV to Dan (daniel.wa.noble@gmail.com) and Shinichi (s.nakagawa@unsw.edu.au). High quality applicants will apply for an APA scholarship through UNSW, which covers tuition and provides a stipend ($25,392/year; more details at: https://research.unsw.edu.au/domestic-research-candidate-scholarships). Opportunities exist to make additional income through teaching positions advertised in the department.

Note that to apply for an APA scholarship, the candidate needs to be Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. However, we welcome students who would like to bring their own scholarship to join our project.


Ph.D. Scholarship: Multivariate Evolution: Experimental evolution of multiple trait interactions under changed environments, Deakin University [January 8, 2015]

I have a Ph.D. scholarship available for a first class student starting in 2015 or 2016 at the Waurn Ponds (Centre for Integrative Ecology) campus of Deakin University. The research takes advantage of my long term experimental evolution project which investigates multivariate evolution of male colour pattern components, female colour preferences and colour vision in 12 guppy mesocosms under three different light environments. General topic: Quantitative genetics of experimental evolution of colour patterns and behaviour in guppies and its relationship to trait functions and functional interactions.

General aims: To examine the pattern, processes and causes of evolution of the G-matrix (genetic variance-covariance matrix) of multiple colour pattern components and their links to mate choice behaviour in populations which are actively evolving under different visual conditions. We are explicitly interested in the pattern and process of multivariate evolution under divergent environmental conditions. Questions include: What are the effects of correlational selection on the G-matrix? Does the form of the G-matrix influence multivariate evolution in the predicted ways? You can also investigate the causes of correlational selection, for example: Does correlational selection of colour pattern components result from their interacting effects on chromatic and luminance contrast and hence on their efficacy as visual signals? There are a lot of different possible avenues of research so long as they investigate the patterns and process of multivariate evolution; I encourage all my students to follow the lines most interesting to them provided it is practical in the 3 years of research.

If you are interested in any aspect of this, please email me. If you are interested, please email me (John A. Endler): John.Endler@deakin.edu.au

Eligibility requirements: In addition to the general PhD requirements at Deakin. You will need some experience with quantitative genetics techniques and some multivariate statistics. Experience with MATLAB or R analysis

is particularly welcome. First preference will be given to Australian citizens or permanent residents but if no appropriate candidates apply, the fellowship will be given to the best non-Australian who applies. You should be able to provide a very strong undergraduate record and letters of recommendation. Unlike other Australian scholarships, I do not expect you to have published any papers, in fact I’m highly suspicious of publication of work done as an undergraduate. However, you should definitely show your merit in your undergraduate record and letters of recommendation. These documents should also show that you are creative, original, innovative, and analytic rather than just a technician or a paper mill. Stipend: Standard APA rate ($25,849 in 2015) with standard conditions in regards to extensions and other allowances.

Dates and details: The closing date for applications is 1 July 2015; and the successful applicant should start no later than February or March 2016, sooner if possible. For more information on any aspect of the scholarship, please email me: John.Endler@deakin.edu.au. For information about the Centre for Integrative ecology, see http://cie-deakin.com/

Field Assistant Positions

Volunteer internship: feral cats on a New Zealand offshore island

I am looking for an intern to start in August/September 2015 to commit to 6 months on a feral cat project. The project is looking at feral cat ecology and movement, and their impact on kiwi and other native wildlife. The internship is a great chance to gain experience in different monitoring techniques with different animals.

Duties include:

  • Using telemetry to locate feral cats.
  • Setting up camera traps, collecting the footage and sorting it. The footage is analysed for feral cat and kiwi videos.
  • Live rat trapping.
  • Distance sampling to estimate bird density.
  • Collecting invertebrate pitfalls.
  • Analysing cat scat in the lab.

Time will be split between the lab/office and the field; 2 weeks in each place per month. There will be the opportunity to participate in kiwi work as well. Duties include a mixture of day and night work. The position is unpaid, but travel costs to the field, and food and accommodation in the field will be paid for. The rest of the expenses will need to be covered by the intern. The candidate must be fit as we work on hilly terrain, and able to walk at least 10km per day. An enthusiastic attitude and good work ethic is essential. We work on an island with a small team so a tolerance to isolation is desired. Experience in telemetry is also desired but not essential as there will be training. If you are interested, please send a CV and a cover letter to Kathryn Strang  k.strang@massey.ac.nz. Questions should be sent to this email address also. Applications will be reviewed now and continue until the position is filled.


Monitor a colour-banded population of lovely fairy-wrens in Cairns

We are looking for field assistants to help expand and monitor a colour-banded population of lovely fairy-wrens in Cairns (Queensland), Australia for a study on female ornamentation. Time periods: June or September 2015 (3 to 6 months). Duties include regular censusing of colour-banded birds, searching for and monitoring nests, mist-netting, recording song and measuring colouration, behavioural observations, video analysis, and data proofing. Working days are long, with early starts six days a week. Enthusiasm, self-motivation and organisation, and a strong work ethic are a must. Qualifications: experience monitoring colour-banded birds, nest-searching, and mist-netting. Good knowledge of English is a requirement. Must also be early riser, physically fit, able to work in extreme weather conditions, and enjoy basic shared living conditions. Having experience in behavioural observations and a driving licence is a plus but not a requirement.

Accommodation is provided, but assistants cover travel to the site and their own food costs. The project will reimburse up to AUD$750/mo towards receipted food and travel expenses. For more information contact: Ana Leitao (avitorinoATstudent.unimelb.edu.au). To apply, please email a letter outlining previous relevant field research experience, and a CV including names and contact information for 3 referees. Applications received until the 9th of April 2015 will receive full consideration. Later applications may be considered.


Upcoming Conferences

2015. August 9-14. Behaviour 2015 - 34th International Ethological Conference. Cairns Convention Centre, Queensland, Australia

2016. March 29 – April 3. International Congress of Neuroethology, Uruguay

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

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

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



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