PhD position (m/f/d) in Animal Ecology, Germany

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Foraging ecology of Asian honey bees

Background: The ecology of the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) has been studied in some detail, but next to nothing is known about the foraging ecology and mechanisms of coexistence of Asian honey bee species (A. cerana, A. dorsata, A. florea). Further, it is unknown how the large-scale transformation of natural ecosystems for agriculture and settlement affect foraging strategies, floral resource overlap and colony performance.

We will address these questions in natural and human-modified landscapes in Southern India in a DFG-funded project. We aim to understand how changes in landscape structure affect foraging distances, the spatial distribution of exploited floral resources, and colony performance of different honey bee species. The project is part of a larger collaborative project comprising three further PhD projects with Prof. Hema Somanathan (IISER Trivandrum, India) and Prof. Ricarda Scheiner (Würzburg University) allowing to integrate ecological, behavioural, and physiological aspects in a common study design.

Requirements: We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student with strong interest and expertise in insect ecology and landscape ecology. Applicants should have a MSc. or Diploma degree in ecology or related disciplines and skills in several of the following areas: experimental field research (e.g. plant-insect interactions, pollinator ecology), use of GIS and statistical data analysis (preferably in R), and scientific writing in English. Practical skills in beekeeping would be an asset. A driver license, physical fitness and very good language skills in English are required. The candidate is expected to work in an interdisciplinary and international project with longer periods of field work in India. The PhD position will be located in the Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology ( at University of Würzburg.

For further information please contact: Prof. Dr. Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter (

Salary and conditions: Salary and benefits are according to public service positions in Germany (TV-L, 65%). Start date: 1st September 2022. The planned duration of the project is three years. We offer the membership in a vibrant international research team, modern facilities, and a structured graduate training program. Würzburg University is an equal opportunities employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women. Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. Disabled persons with equivalent aptitude will be favored.

Applications: Please send your application as one single pdf file per email to latest until 20 June 2022. Applications should include a cover letter, a short summary of research interests, CV, complete certificates, and the names (with email addresses) of two potential referees.

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