The Purcell lab in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside seeks
motivated undergraduate students to contribute to summer research projects.=A0
Members of the Purcell lab study the behavioral, ecological, and genetic
basis of evolutionary transitions in social organization in insects such as
ants. One such project, focusing on division of labor in ants will require
an undergraduate research assistant this summer.=A0 Division of labor, in
which individual members of a society specialize in a single or narrow range
of tasks, is a prominent aspect of social insect biology and a major
contributor to their ecological dominance. Many social insects have
well-defined worker castes, either through age or morphological polyethism.
However, ant species of the genus Formica, native to North America and
Europe, don=92t have distinct worker castes, and the way in which labor is
divided within their colonies remains unknown. Mari West, a PhD student in
the Purcell lab, is investigating what behavioral, genetic, developmental,
and ecological factors act as worker caste determinants within this genus.
Her research this summer will consist of conducting behavioral observations
and field collections in Kananaskis, Alberta from mid-June to mid-August.
Applicants should have prior experience working in field conditions or else
an extensive hiking/camping background, be capable of working in a group or
independently, enjoy the outdoors, and be willing to work in rugged outdoor
conditions that have the potential to change rapidly. No prior entomological
experience is necessary, but applicants should be comfortable handling
insects, particularly sting-less ants. A successful applicant will gain
skills in behavioral observation, mark-recapture, experimental design, and
general social insect biology and may have the opportunity to carry out
his/her own side project. If interested, please send a brief letter of
interest and a resume/CV with at least 2 references to Mari West at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted through April 15th, 2017.