Fully Funded MSc: Wildlife Space-Use and Post-Fire Habitat Dynamics in Utah

Agency
Utah State University
Location
Logan, Utah
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Salary
$18K/year for two years
Start Date
01/01/2021
Last Date to Apply
10/18/2020
Website
https://talavgar.com/
Description
Large, severe wildfires can rapidly alter critical wildlife habitat. However, the behavioral response of valuable game species, such as deer and elk, to initial habitat loss from wildfire and its subsequent recovery is rarely monitored. Moreover, the effect of large-game and livestock grazing and browsing intensity on post-fire habitat recovery is also poorly understood. For this collaborative project between the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Tal Avgar’s and Larissa Yocom’s research groups at USU, we are looking for an MSc student to study two complementary research questions: (1) How and why do large herbivores (elk, deer, cattle, and sheep) alter their space-use and foraging patterns in response to wildfire, and how do these responses change as a function of pre- and post-fire habitat dynamics? And (2), do post-fire space-use patterns of large herbivores affect successional trajectories, and how do these effects depend on herbivore species, habitat characteristics, and fire severity? Desired start date: January 2021. The student will be supported by a yearly stipend of $18,000 for two years. Minimum qualifications: BSc in ecology, wildlife biology, conservation biology, mathematical or statistical ecology, or related fields. Applicants must be admissible to the MS Ecology program at USU. Competitive applicants will have experience: collecting field vegetation data, conducting statistical analysis of spatial data in R and/or Python, presenting and publishing ecological data, and the capacity to develop and apply quantitative models to address ecological questions. Applicants should email the following materials, as a single pdf file, with the subject line “Wildlife-Fire MSc Assistantship” to larissa.yocom@usu.edu and tal.avgar@usu.edu no later than October 18th, 2020: (a) one page cover letter describing relevant experience, interests, and professional goals, (b) CV, (c) scientific writing sample (an academic paper or report written primarily by the applicant), and (d) contact information for three professional references. Priority will be given to applicants belonging to under-represented groups, including (but not limited to) Native/African/Latinx Americans, LGBTQ+, women, and first-generation college students. Utah State University is a Research I land-grant institution with a student body of over 28,000, 42 departments, 8 academic colleges, a school of Graduate Studies, and diverse research programs. The main campus is located in Logan, a community of 120,000 people in Northern Utah. Logan is 85 miles north of Salt Lake City in scenic Cache Valley, a semi-rural mountain basin with nearby ski resorts, lakes, rivers, and mountains providing many recreational opportunities. The area has a low cost of living and provides a high quality of life.
Qualifications
Minimum qualifications: BSc in ecology, wildlife biology, conservation biology, mathematical or statistical ecology, or related fields. Applicants must be admissible to the MS Ecology program at USU. Competitive applicants will have experience: collecting field vegetation data, conducting statistical analysis of spatial data in R and/or Python, presenting and publishing ecological data, and the capacity to develop and apply quantitative models to address ecological questions.
Contact Person
Tal Avgar
Contact eMail
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