Insect Research

Location: East Lansing , MI
Deadline: May 1, 2017

2017 Landis Lab Undergraduate Positions Available 

The Landscape Ecology and Biological Control Lab is seeking applicants for several campus-based AND KBS-based full-time summer research assistant positions. Hours will be long during peak season. Applicants must be prepared to work outdoors, in all weather conditions, with team members or alone, must have a valid driver’s license and be willing to drive 1-3 hours to field sites in university vehicles.

These jobs are not likely to be compatible with taking summer classes.

Wages are based on experience but start at $11/hr. Full time (May-August, possible part-time during the school year) with multiple year commitment encouraged, but not required. Students with coursework, experience or career plans in ecology, agroecology, zoology, wildlife, entomology or plant sciences and insect or plant identification skills are preferred. 

Behavioral and Chemical Ecology of Insect Predator-Prey Interactions 

This project aims to understand how insect prey populations respond to the threat of predation by their natural enemies in agroecosystems. It has been shown that insect prey may ‘eavesdrop’ on their predators using chemical cues which allow prey to respond and avoid being eaten. By using actual predators as well as their isolated chemical signature, we will explore the ecology of this fear-based relationship using various behavioral assays in the lab and field. Experiments will require full days in the field and the possibility of weekend hours. This projects requires the maintenance of various insect colonies (butterflies, ladybeetles, aphids) as well as greenhouse work to maintain host plants for the insects (collard greens, barely). Applicants must be okay with getting dirty! Experience or interest in insect behavior or chemical ecology is a plus. 

 

Monarch Breeding Habitat Conservation in Agroecosystems 

The overarching goal of this project is to learn about ways to conserve monarch butterfly breeding habitat in agricultural landscapes. We will investigate the interacting influences of habitat context and natural enemies on monarch butterfly egg-laying site selection and survival. Our experiments will involve placing milkweed plants in different habitat-type plots and monitoring monarch egg-laying numbers, the survival of eggs and larvae, and the abundance of monarch predators and parasitoids. The work will require many round trips to the Kellogg Biological Station in a university vehicle, long hours in the field, and potential insect sample identification in the lab. It will also require one student to live at the KBS campus during the summer. Enthusiasm for hard field work and ecology is a big plus! 

 

To apply please e-mail current CV and 2 references to Julia Perrone at perrone5@msu.edu