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Website: Keith Mason
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Postdoctoral positions

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Bee Ecology

A postdoctoral position is available in Michigan State University’s Department of Entomology (www.ent.msu.edu) to study bees in wild and managed landscapes. The successful applicant will have two main areas of responsibility: 1) Investigate bee communities in natural and agricultural sites across Michigan that were sampled up to 60 years ago. Using museum specimens, recently databased collections, and resampling sites for new collections, analyze the temporal patterns of pollinator abundance and diversity in these landscapes to explore factors that affect bee populations; 2) Explore the role of high-reward pollinator habitat for supporting wild bees and honey bees in farmland, using previously-established restoration plantings. Using current and archived samples from these sites, address questions of floral diversity and bee response over time and the risk of pesticide drift from adjacent crop fields.
This position will be based in the laboratory of Rufus Isaacs (www.isaacslab.ent.msu.edu) with access to the collection of Michigan bees and a database of the specimens. Michigan State University also hosts the Michigan Pollinator Initiative (www.pollinators.msu.edu) and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior program (www.eebb.msu.edu) offering opportunities for collaboration. There is also a postdoctoral association (www.msupda.wordpress.com), and we have close ties to grower and conservation organizations to facilitate connections with landowners. This position provides opportunities to gain leadership experience within a multi-PI grant project, to work closely with a landscape ecologist with GIS expertise, and to be involved in the Michigan Pollinator Initiative. This is a 100% research position with the possibility of expanding the goals based on the applicants’ interests. It will also provide chances to gain experience in presenting information to a broad range of stakeholders with interest in pollinators and pollination.
The postdoctoral associate will design and conduct studies, and will analyze data from both areas of research listed above. He or she will develop and submit manuscripts reporting on the results to peer-reviewed journals. Expectations also include working collaboratively with other researchers, helping coordinate reporting for this multi-investigator project, and supervising technical staff and student workers. Opportunities will be available to present results at national conferences, to mentor junior researchers, and to develop and coordinate competitive grant proposals.
The preferred candidate will hold a Ph.D. in entomology, ecology, environmental biology, or conservation science and will have a strong publication record, experience with field collection and identification of bees or other insects, and demonstrated ability to analyze large ecological datasets. Documented writing ability is expected, primarily for scientific papers although grant writing experience is an advantage. Experience of remote areas fieldwork, pesticide and/or pollen analysis, or spatial analysis will be viewed favorably.
The position will be available starting March 1, 2017, or as negotiated. Funding is available for 2 years and will be renewed annually, based on performance. This position will have a starting salary of $48,000 and comes with a generous benefits package (www.hr.msu.edu).
Apply for this position at https://jobs.msu.edu using posting 4739. Prepare one PDF file containing your cv; a letter explaining your experience, career goals, and interest in the position; up to three relevant publications; and names and contact information for three referees. Contact Rufus Isaacs (isaacsr@msu.edu) with any questions about the position, using Bee Ecology Postdoc in the subject line.
Michigan State University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.


Graduate students

Are you excited about ecology or insects and want to work on a project to help improve insect management in agriculture? If you are an enthusiastic and hard working student interested in working in the Isaacs lab for your entomology MS or Ph.D, I encourage you to contact me at isaacsr "at" msu.edu. I typically have 2-3 students in the lab, working on their independent projects and the main limitation is funding rather than potential research ideas. I take on a new student every 1-2 years, and students are encouraged to contact me early in the academic year ahead of when they might consider entering graduate school. This is partly to determine potential overlap between your research interests and future goals and my lab's future research program, and also because deadlines for funding through the NSF, EPA, USDA, and internal MSU funding sources are typically in November and December. See the People page for a list of current students, and I suggest contacting them to learn more about life in our lab, department, and university.

Undergraduate students

We hire undergraduate students and recent grads during the summer months to work with us at farms and research stations across Michigan, collecting data, sorting samples, and entering data. The ability to drive a stickshift car is a great help, but not essential. A love of the outdoors, willingness to work in a team, and an interest in insects are all positive attributes of students for these jobs. If you are interested in applying, please contact Julia Brokaw to inquire about positions related to pollinators, Keith Mason for positions related to pest management and biocontrol, or Steve Van Timmeren for positions based in west Michigan. Also be sure to check the MSU Venture website for research/employment opportunities.