Postdoc: Plant-herbivore and predator-prey interactions, Cornell (USA) ~

7 de noviembre de 2013

Postdoc: Plant-herbivore and predator-prey interactions, Cornell (USA)

6 novembre 2013
Postdoctoral Position — Plant-herbivore and predator-prey interactions:

The Thaler lab in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY is seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher to participate in
research in the area of non-consumptive interactions between
predators and prey. Our lab combines field-scale experiments with
laboratory behavioral and chemical assays to determine the mechanisms
of species interactions. The postdoc will oversee research
investigating how plant resistance and variation in the predator
community influence the strength of non-consumptive effects of
predators on pests. Previous field and lab experience in one or more
of the following fields is essential: population/community ecology,
entomology, chemical or molecular ecology, insect physiology or
insect behavior. Development of related, independent research by the
postdoc is encouraged.

The start date is flexible between May and September 2014. The
position is available for two years subject to review after one year.

Applicants should send a cover letter with a statement of research
interests, a CV, names and email addresses of 3 references, and
copies of up to 3 relevant publications by email (one PDF file) to
Dr. Jennifer Thaler ( Please let me know if you
are attending the Entomological Society of America meeting in Austin.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until
the position is filled. Cornell University is an equal opportunity
and affirmative action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Grant Project Summary:
A central goal for modern agriculture is to increase the success of
insect biological control. A profound result of the last 20 years is
that over 50% of the effect of predators on prey is through changes
in prey behavior and development (not consumption!) in response to
predation risk. In the course of studying non-consumptive effects of
a native stink bug predator we discovered that its prey dramatically
reduces feeding to avoid predation, but is able to maintain growth.
This finding presents an important question and a challenge: The
question, from the herbivore’s perspective, is under what conditions
can the herbivore compensate for reductions in feeding and what are
the costs of this compensation? The challenge however, is: How can we
manipulate conditions to reduce prey compensatory ability and
maximize the costs of predator exposure to maximize both the
consumptive and non-consumptive effect of predators?
Studying Colorado potato beetles, a major pest of potatoes, we will
measure how plant resistance and temporal variation in predator
presence affect the non-consumptive and total effect of the stink bug
predator on the beetle life time fitness and plant damage including
effects on the next generation that is not exposed to predation. We
will measure physiological, behavioral and developmental mechanisms
by which beetle larvae compensate for responses to predation risk and
how these contribute to fitness in the presence of additional stresses.

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