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Postdoc position available

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2 year post-doc position:

Developing and field-testing novel approaches to invasive ant control

We are looking fora postdoctoral researcher to bring our ERC-funded project 'Cognitive Control' to fruition.

The aim of COGNITIVE CONTROL is to gain fundamental insights into collective cognition and apply them to the emerging global challenge of invasive animal control. Invasive ants are ecologically devastating, economically damaging, and almost impossible to control. Ants are protected physically and by social immunity. However, their cognitive abilities are almost universally ignored, and offer novel angles of attack.

Over the last three years, we have identified some simple interventions which may improve invasive ant control methods. This includes adding psychoactive ingredients to baits to reduce foraging round-trip time, and psychological manipulations like strategic odour use. The aim of this post-doc is to bring these methods from the lab into the field, running large scale baiting experiments in Spain, within a national park heavily impacted by invasive Argentine ants. We plan to deploy toxicants in alginate hydrogel beads, with and without the addition of psychoactive or psychological manipulations, in order to compare the effect of adding these manipulations to control efficacy. The post-doc will be responsible for working out the details of the large-scale field experiments, managing the student staff hired to help with the fieldwork (working closely with our colleagues in Spain), take part in the fieldwork and data collection, analyse the results, and write any resultant manuscripts in collaboration with the rest of the project team. In addition, outside fieldwork season, the post-doc will work on bringing similar manipulations to controlling pest ants in buildings, in collaboration with our industrial partner.

The successful candidate will be employed at full time researcher rates for Germany (§ 2 Abs. 1 WissZeitVG, TV-L E13, 100%), 4100-6000 euro gross per month depending on years of qualifying experience. 

This advertisement is not legally binding. The official advertisement (German only) can be found here. But be warned: it won't be very informative.

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Requirements and details

The position is set to start as of January 2024, but we will continue searching until a suitable candidate is found.

Candidates require

- a PhD in Biology, Zoology, Conservation, or a related field

- excellent written and spoken English

- experience in organising projects
 

Also advantageous is

- experience carrying out field trials, especially pest or invasive species control trials

- an EU-valid drivers licence

- some knowledge of Spanish

 

For more information, or to apply, contact

Dr Tomer Czaczkes.

 

Applicants should send: their C.V., a personal statement of motivation, and the contact details of at least one previous supervisor willing to provide a letter of reference.

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