Academic Unit: Funded PhD Scholarship – NUI Galway, Ireland

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Project Title: Investigating Diversity and Adaptation in wild honeybees in Ireland

Supervisor: Prof Grace McCormack, Zoology, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway.

Duration: Funded for 4 years (Structured PhD), full-time.

Project description: It was understood that wild Apis mellifera colonies were extinct, or almost so, across its natural range. In addition the subspecies A. m. mellifera has been decimated over much of its natural range, being replaced by other subspecies of more interest to commercial beekeeping and also impacted by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Recently, reports are starting to accumulate regarding the reappearance of wild honeybees. We have shown the presence of wild A. m. mellifera colonies in Ireland, residing primarily in roof, wall and tree cavities in both rural and urban locations but they are threatened by continued hybridisation from imported strains. Now we have launched an online reporting tool to continue to identify the location of additional colonies in a citizen-science approach. Little is known about their survival patterns, how they have adapted to their current environments, to the presence of Varroa or to the continued imports of non-native strains. This project will extend recording and monitoring of wild colonies, investigate a range of factors that might impact fitness in wild colonies compared to nearby managed colonies and apply a population genomics approach on individual and pooled bee samples to investigate signals of selection and introgression in wild native Irish honey bees.

Stipend: €18,500.00 per annum & fees for 4 years.

Entry Requirements: minimum BSc honours degree (normally 2.1 or higher) in Zoology or a related discipline essential; clean driving license, experience of honeybee research and/or beekeeping, aptitude/experience with some kind of bioinformatics very desirable. This project will involve a lot of personal interactions (with team members, beekeepers, members of the public) so a personable nature will be important. However, it will also require self-direction, use of initiative and working independently to drive forward individual research.

Expected start date: December 1st 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

How to apply:
e.g. Please send a letter of introduction and a current CV, indicating your research experience and including the names of two referees to Grace McCormack via email to

Closing date for applications: Nov 5th 2021

For informal discussion, contact Grace McCormack,, +353860227227