Postdoctoral Researcher – Diversity and Adaptation in Wild Honeybees in Ireland, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway

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REF: NUIG RES 228-21

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time, fixed term, 47-month position as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the funded project entitled ‘Diversity and Adaptation in wild honeybees in Ireland’ within the Evolution and Systematics Group (PI: Prof. Grace McCormack) in the School of Natural Sciences, at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

This position is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is available from January 2022.

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. A PhD position is also available on this project.

Job Description

Working as an integral member of the Evolution and Systematics Group and with project collaborators, the successful candidate will investigate evolutionary adaptation of honeybees in Ireland particularly focusing on mechanisms for which wild honeybees can survive and thrive despite the presence of Varroa, changes in population over the last hundred years or so, and impacts of hybridisation with non-native subspecies and commercial breeds. The focus of the postdoc position will be primarily organising, processing and analysing data. Different kinds of data will be collected throughout the project including colony characteristics from citizen reports, morphological and biological data and genomic data from hundreds of colonies (pool seq) and individuals. The successful candidate will also contribute to day to day running of the project and supervision and training of postgraduate and undergraduate students.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Establishment and management of database for colony reports
  • Establishment of protocols and pipelines for processing and analysis of genomic data
  • Provide advice and guidance on bioinformatic analyses tools and approaches
  • Coordination of reporting and monitoring and interaction with colony custodians
  • Training of postgrad and undergrad students
  • Record keeping
  • Report/manuscript/article writing
  • Contribute significantly to research project’s dissemination
  • Contribute to postgraduate and undergraduate student training and supervision
  • Contribute to day to day project running
  • Design of integrated website and Apps

Qualifications/Skills required

Essential Requirements:

  • PhD in a relevant biology (e.g. Zoology, Entomology) or bioinformatics – related discipline is required (or a combination of both).
  • Excellent experience of data handling and management
  • Experience of analysis of genomic data- evolutionary genomics, statistics
  • Record keeping
  • Report writing
  • Dissemination – publication of at least one paper
  • Student supervision and training

Desirable Requirements:

  • Web database & App design
  • Experience with honeybee research and/or beekeeping


€38,632 per annum pro rata for shorter and/or part-time contracts (public sector pay policy rules pertaining to new entrants will apply).

Start date

This position is available from January 2022.

Further information

Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans. NUI Galway provides continuing professional development supports for all researchers seeking to build their own career pathways either within or beyond academia. Researchers are encouraged to engage with our Researcher Development Centre (RDC) upon commencing employment – see for further information.

For information on moving to Ireland please see

To Apply

Applications to include a covering letter and CV, and the contact details of three referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to:

Prof Grace McCormack:

Please put reference number NUIG RES 228-21 in subject line of e-mail application.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm, 18th November 2021

Interviews are planned to be held on 8th December 2021

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions interviews may take place virtually and start dates may need to be delayed

We reserve the right to re-advertise or extend the closing date for this post.

National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunities employer.

All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment