Understanding the complex interaction between behavioral ecology and physiology is crucial when determining animal-habitat relationships across spatial and temporal scales, particularly in regions that experience extreme climatic events that may shape ecological patterns. The white-tailed deer (Odocoilieus virginianus) is a species with a broad geographic distribution that functions as an ideal model species to experimentally test how behavioral adaptations influence physiological processes to allow for broad latitudinal/longitudinal population persistence relative to abiotic conditions. We are seeking 1 M.S. student to conduct research on white-tailed deer in an experimental environment to better understand how individuals and social groups function within the physical constraints of thermal conditions, particularly with regards to extreme heat. The successful candidate will work within a state-of-the-art Albert and Margaret Alkek Ungulate Research Facility to conduct experimental studies with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute’s captive deer herd. Here, the student will have the resources to experimentally manipulate thermal conditions and deer interactions to better understand these complex relationships. Additionally, the successful applicant will be encouraged to work with the Principle Investigators to design research questions that best serve their personal interests. This project will also provide the successful candidate an opportunity to collaborate with scientists from multiple disciplines to ensure the project’s success. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Drs. Michael Cherry and Evan Tanner (co-advisor). The successful applicant will be expected to publish manuscripts in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals and present findings at national and regional scientific conferences. This is a fully funded 2 1/2-year position.
B.S. degree in ecology, wildlife science, natural resources, range science, biology, or closely related fields. Competitive applicants will ideally have coding and statistical experience in R, with a proven track record of publishing high quality scientific manuscripts. A strong work ethic, good verbal and written communication skills, ability to work independently and as a productive member of a research group, and ability to work under adverse field conditions (hot/humid Texas environment) are essential. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and competitive GRE scores.