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2 MS Research Assistantships – Mule Deer Space Use in Utah
Utah State University - WILD
$20,000 stipend + tuition + health insurance
Last Date to Apply
2 Masters Research Assistantships are available to work with Dr. Erica Stuber in the Wildland Resources Department of Utah State University and UT USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, in collaboration with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources focusing on the space use of Mule Deer. I am looking for respectful and inclusive team members with a collaborative drive, and a strong sense of curiosity, who are interested in developing their skills in wildlife ecology.
Since 2006, the Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative has completed ~2,280 habitat restoration projects on ~1.9M acres of public and private land across Utah (wri.utah.gov). Many habitat restoration projects are implemented within the ranges of important game species, and represent changes to multiple potential resources used by wildlife (e.g., improving foraging resources and habitat quality).
The students will lead investigations into complementary research topics:
How quickly do mule deer respond to habitat restoration in their patterns of space use?
For how long do deer incorporate restored areas in their patterns of space use?
What types of ‘ecological neighborhoods’ maximize the benefits of individual habitat restoration projects on local mule deer density?
At landscape-scales, what portfolios of multiple habitat restoration projects maximize fawn production?
Information from these projects will enable managers to prioritize locations to implement habitat restoration that are expected to provide the largest benefit by considering the timescale of species’ response to different environmental changes, and the habitat composition of the entire landscape in which habitat restoration projects will be embedded.
The student will participate in animal captures for GPS-collaring, physiological, and morphometric measurements of mule deer. The student will contribute to all aspects of project management, with the potential to develop their own research questions related to the overall objectives, and work closely with Wildlife Biologists and Natural Resource Managers within the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Research products developed in these projects will have the opportunity to directly inform Utah species and habitat management decisions.
The successful applicants’ stipends will be paid through expected 2.5yr Research Assistantships. In-state tuition will be provided, the non-resident portion of tuition will be waived for 1 year, and the candidate will be expected to apply for in-state residency status during their second year so tuition can be fully covered.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. We strongly encourage applicants from underrepresented, or historically excluded groups including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, women, and first-generation college students to apply.
Utah State University is a land-grant institution with a student enrollment of over 28,000 in 42 departments, with diverse research programs. The position will be based in Logan at the main campus, a community of 120,000 people in Northern Utah. Logan is 85 miles north of Salt Lake City in scenic Cache Valley, a mountain basin with nearby ski resorts, lakes, rivers, and mountains providing many recreational opportunities. The area has a low cost of living while providing a high quality of life (https://www.explorelogan.com/).
Degree in Wildlife Science, Ecology, Natural Resources, Statistical Ecology or other relevant discipline.
Applicants must meet USU’s requirements for admission to either the Ecology or Wildlife Biology programs (https://qcnr.usu.edu/wild/graduate/future/overview).
The ideal candidate would have the potential and motivation to develop strong quantitative skills, and the ability to work both in a team environment and independently. Previous experience in organizing and cleaning ecological data, GIS, conducting statistical analyses, written or oral presentation of scientific work, or prior undergraduate research experience is helpful but not required as these skills will be developed. Previous experience working with mammals is not necessary.
To apply, please send a single document containing:
1) A 1-pg cover letter describing why you want the position, the skills you would bring to the project, and the skills you are interested in developing during your MS. Please specify which project (1 or 2) you prefer, or whether you would like to be considered for both.
2) Your CV, or resume
3) Unofficial transcripts from a US accredited undergraduate institution
4) Contact information for 2 professional references
to Dr. Erica Stuber (email@example.com), with the subject line: “Mule Deer MS Assistantship”