The Ranglack Lab at University of Nebraska at Kearney is seeking a MS student interested in bison conservation, ecology, and management to assist in a collaborative project examining the scaled ecology of American bison beginning in August 2021. Bison are often considered a keystone species on North American grasslands because of their many ecological interactions and processes, but this has not been critically assessed and tested. This project seeks to evaluate the spatial and temporal scale of each of these processes using the existing literature on bison to create a heuristic model of bison ecology in both space and time. This model will then be tested (pending summer funding) using data from several large-scale bison herds, including Vermejo Ranch in New Mexico and Yellowstone, Badlands, and Wind Cave National Parks. Then, the student will evaluate the current “portfolio” of bison conservation herds to determine which of those processes and interactions are or are not currently being conserved. Given that most bison herds are of medium size and exist behind fences on medium landscapes, it is possible that certain important aspects of bison ecology are not being conserved under the current management paradigm. This will result in a critical evaluation of the ecology of the species and what aspects of that ecology should be prioritized in bison conservation planning.
Prospective students interested in bison conservation, ecology, and management or conservation biology are encouraged to apply. The student will be paid as a Teaching Assistant during academic years (2). Summer funding for this position is currently pending and not guaranteed. This package will also cover the student’s tuition (in-state or out-of-state) for two years and subsidized health insurance (optional). The student will be expected to apply for additional external funding, must maintain a 3.0 GPA, and will teach general biology labs for non-majors.
Prospective students should have a BS degree in ecology, biology, or related discipline. Previous experience with bison is preferred, but not required. Applicants must have excellent English writing and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to work with and lead a research team. A minimum GRE score of 290 and 3.0 undergraduate GPA required.
Indigenous candidates and other underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.
Please send one pdf file named lastname_firstname.pdf (e.g., rodriguez_isabel.pdf) that includes a cover letter, CV (with GPA and GRE scores), and names and contact addresses of three references to Dr. Dustin Ranglack at firstname.lastname@example.org, using the subject line “Bison Scaled Ecology Position”, by 4 April 2021. Individuals who do not follow these instructions may not be considered.