Graduate position: VirginiaTech.2.HoneyBeeEvolution

Honey bee Foraging Ecology and Pollinator Health

The Couvillon Lab at Virginia Tech seeks highly motivated, independent
students with a keen interest in both basic and applied questions
related to honey bee foraging and recruitment behavior and/or
pollinator health to join our newly established research group
( in the late spring or early autumn
2018 under Dr. Margaret Couvillon, Assistant Professor of Pollinator
Biology and Ecology in the Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech,
Blacksburg, Virginia.

Available positions: One PhD (4 years) and one MSc/MS (2 years) positions
studying the foraging ecology of honey bees and other pollinators in
the Couvillon Lab.

Application deadline: 15 December, 2017

Start date: late spring or early autumn 2018 (but open to negotiation)
Potential applied and basic science projects may include these
– How and when do honey bees forage across diverse, representative
– How do these foraging dynamics relate to the abundance, diversity, and
health of non-Apis bees?
– How do foraging behaviors affect colony exposure to other stressors,
such as pesticides?
– What are the evolutionary causes and adaptive / non-adaptive
consequences of honey bee waggle dance (mis)communication? (in
collaboration with Schurch lab at Virginia Tech)

MSc requirements:
– BSc/BS in Biology, Entomology, Evolutionary Biology, Landscape Ecology
or related STEM field
– An excitement for working with live, whole organisms (that sting!)
– A willingness to learn new skills, such as experimental design,
scientific reproducibility, statistics, GIS, and insect identification
– Proficiency in English and excellent verbal and written
communication skills
– A collaborative, helpful, team-oriented spirit

Additional PhD requirements:
– An MSc/MS in Biology, Entomology, Evolutionary Biology Landscape
Ecology, or related STEM field
– If you are from an international location where English is not your
first language, you will be required to take the TOEFL (see Graduate
School requirements)

Please note that the selected candidates for the positions must then
apply and be accepted into the Graduate School at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech is an equal opportunity employer.

We offer:
– A funded position (MSc/MS or PhD) working with economically vital and
scientifically fascinating insects
– Training as a well-rounded, critically-thinking scientist
– Exciting combination of field studies and experiments with freely
flying and behaving bees; new methods in video and landscape analysis
with ArcGIS; opportunities to learn experimental design, scientific
reproducibility, and statistical modelling
– Regular collaborations with other research teams in the department,
university, and within the larger field
– A Departmental instructional program offering a variety of basic and
applied courses

Blacksburg is a lovely college town set between the Blue Ridge and
Allegheny Mountains with many outdoor opportunities, high standard of
living, and a warm and welcoming community feel.

Please email your application to Dr. Couvillon as a single pdf
attachment. Application should include a cover letter (1-2 pages)
introducing yourself and describing your background and research
interests, a CV, and the contact information for two potential academic
references before December 15, 2017. Please remember to indicate which
position interests you. A short list of candidates will be invited to
interview either in person or over Skype in January 2018, and selection
should occur by February 2018.

For more details on the research and our lab, please see or contact Dr. Maggie Couvillon (
directly. You may also “Join” our Facebook page The BeeGroup @ VT.

Couvillon, Schurch & Ratnieks (2014). Dancing bees communicate a
foraging preference for rural lands in High Level Agri-Environment
Schemes. Current Biol 24(11), 1212-1215.

Couvillon, Schurch & Ratnieks (2014) Waggle dance distances as
integrative indicators of seasonal foraging challenges. PLOS One, 9
(4), e93495.

Couvillon & Ratnieks (2015). Environmental consultancy: dancing bee
bioindicators to evaluate landscape “health”. Frontiers in Ecol and
Evol 3, 44.

Schurch, Ratnieks, Samuelson, & Couvillon (2016). Dancing to her own
beat: honey bee foragers communicate via individually calibrated waggle
dances. J Exp Biol 219 (9), 1287-1289.

Couvillon, Al Toufailia, Butterfield, Schrell, Ratnieks, Schurch
(2015). Buzzing bees: caffeinated forage tricks honey bees into
increasing foraging and recruitment behaviors. Current Biol 25 (21),

Margaret Couvillon <>