Postdoctoral Fellow in Invasion Biology (Ant Ecology)

Postdoctoral Fellow in Invasion Biology (Ant Ecology), Christmas Island, Indian Ocean

The Department of Botany, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow to conduct research in Invasion Biology on Christmas Island. Over the last decade, supercolonies of the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes have spread across island rainforest and caused a variety of significant impacts. High ant densities are consistently associated with high densities of exotic honeydew-secreting scale insects. This project will determine the dependence of ant supercolonies on associated scale insects specifically, and the role of mutualism in facilitating biological invasions generally. We are looking for a well motivated, independent person with a track record of research in multi-species interactions. Experience with large-scale field experiments and stable isotope analysis would be an advantage. The three-year position will be based on the island, which is an external territory of Australia.

This project is a key component of a wider program examining the potential for the indirect control of this ant invader through biological control of associated scale insects. A second fellow, to be appointed later in 2009, will focus on scale insect interactions with natural enemies, especially the evaluation of potential biocontrol agents in the native range of the scale insects, SE Asia. Both positions are funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, through the
Director of National Parks.

Please contact Dr Dennis O’Dowd (odowd@sci.monash.edu.au) or Dr Peter Green (p.green@latrobe.edu.au) for further information on the project, and visit here for a position description and application documentation. Applications close 27 March 2009.

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