Postdoctoral Research Associate (Ecology and Behavior of Potter wasps)

Position description:

A postdoctoral position is available in the Department of Marco and Louise Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology at Ben-Gurion University to work on the ecology and behavior of the potter wasp, Delta dimidiatipenne, in the Negev Desert. This wasp constructs nests made of mud cells near water holes, and provisions the cells with caterpillars as food for their young. Interestingly, a large proportion of the caterpillars collected by female potter wasps are already parasitized by an internal gregarious parasitoid. The consequences are negative to all interacting species: the caterpillars are consumed internally, the potter wasp offspring cannot fully exploit the caterpillars and often starve to death, and the small parasitoids complete their development, but remain trapped in the sealed mud cells. We aim to estimate the frequency and consequences of this intriguing phenomenon, and study the mechanisms through which it is maintained despite the high cost to all players. This work involves insect rearing, and field and lab experimentations.

The successful candidate must 1) have a Ph.D. in Entomology or a closely related discipline; 2) have substantial training and experience in insect ecology (experimental design, data collection, and
data analysis); 3) have a record of peer-reviewed publications; and 4) be comfortable working
independently in the laboratory and in the field.

This position is available immediately; however, the start date is negotiable. Applications
will be reviewed until the position is filled. The salary will be commensurate with qualifications
and experience. To apply: E-mail a single PDF file to containing a CV,
cover letter describing your research experience and career goals, and contact information for
three references.

Contact Information: Dr. Michal Segoli, Department of Desert Ecology,
Ben-Gurion University, Sede-Boqer Campus, 8499000, Israel