Undergrad, grad and post-doc opportunities

We are looking to hire several enthusiastic and motivated undergraduate students as temporary Lab Assistants to support the Ries Lab of Butterfly Informatics both during the semester and for the summer.

Our largest need for lab assistants occurs in the summer, when students support caterpillar rearing for experiments related to caterpillar responses to environmental stressors. In a typical summer research season, caterpillars are reared under different conditions, or experimental treatments, typically involving temperature, food quality, and immune challenge.

Summer lab assistants are committed to 30-40 hours of work a week, including four days on site at the lab (which may include weekend days) as well as potential remote work, including data compilation. Frequently, successful summer lab assistants continue their involvement in lab research during the school year.

Most of the current experimental work is part of a larger collaborative study between the Ries and Armbruster (https://armbruster.georgetown.domains/) labs at Georgetown and also across four other participating institutions (see below).

An NSF-funded initiative to examine how climate impacts population dynamics of butterflies throughout North America has funding for this new integrative collaboration. This project will study growth, survivorship, and immune responses of multiple butterfly species to different temperature profiles and variable host plant sources. Field and laboratory approaches (including rearing, population genetics, and gene expression) will study select butterfly populations throughout their range to understand local adaptations and evolutionary potential. We will use these mechanistic data to build dynamic models to project species’ responses to climate change. Predictions of emerging models of large-scale population and range dynamics will be tested with data emerging from a network of community (citizen) science monitoring platforms and programs (e.g., the North American Butterfly Counts, route-based butterfly monitoring networks, opportunistic observations through portals like eButterfly and iNaturalist). Validated models will be projected into future climates to explore the potential biodiversity consequences of global change.

We are not looking to recruit new graduate students in either the Ries or Armbruster lab, but other members of the collaborative (see below) may be. Also, as a group, we have no specific funding for postdoctoral fellows, but the goals of the project align exactly with one current focus of NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Biology (area 2), “Integrative Research Investigating the Rules of Life Governing Interactions Between Genomes, Environment and Phenotypes.” (https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/postdoctoral-research-fellows...)

Our project is looking to support a large and diverse collaboration and we are particularly interested in recruiting candidates who have been traditionally underrepresented in the ecological and evolutionary sciences or who are passionate about broadening participation. As such, we also highly encourage interested upcoming and recent graduates who can also apply for NSF Biology Fellowships under area 1: “Broadening Participation of Groups Underrepresented in Biology”.

Participating labs include the Kingsolver Lab (https://jgking.web.unc.edu/) at University of NC, the Yang lab (https://yanglab.ucdavis.edu/) at UC-Davis, the Smilanich lab (http://www.angelasmilanich.com/) at University of NV-Reno, and the Breed lab (https://sites.google.com/alaska.edu/gregbreed/home) at University of AK-Fairbanks.