Graduate position – Sonoran desert tortoise – TTU

Texas Tech University
TTU (field work based out of Organ Pipe National Monument)
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
$18K/year plus health insurance, a tuition waiver, and opportunities for additional fellowships
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
We are recruiting a highly motivated applicant interested in earning a MS to work on the ecology of the Sonoran desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in the lab of Dr. Kerry Griffis-Kyle. This is part of a larger project focused on the tortoise’s habitat use and connectivity in the border region. Specific research questions are flexible, but they will likely relate to Sonoran desert tortoise occupancy and habitat use. The student will work as part of a team during the summer in Arizona. Their responsibilities will include data collection on occupancy plots in the border regions, assisting with radio-tracking and replacing GPS dataloggers on tortoises, driving in remote region of the desert, report writing and may include helping out on other projects. The position is funded at $18K/year plus health insurance, a tuition waiver, and opportunities for additional fellowships. Field housing and utilities are provided (generally June through August or September). We encourage applications from all qualified individuals, especially ethnic and gender minorities. The first year of funding is guaranteed through grant funding and we are exploring options to support subsequent years. Texas Tech University is one of four major state supported universities in Texas and is designated as a National Research University by the State of Texas and as a Hispanic-Serving Institution from the U.S. Department of Education. Texas Tech University requires a background check of all new employees. Interested applicants should email Dr. Griffis-Kyle ( and have “Graduate opportunity” in the subject line. Please include in the email: 1. How this position will help you fulfill your career goals and why you are a good fit 2. Resume or CV including pertinent work experience and contact information 3. Unofficial transcripts 4. GRE scores (not required, but encouraged) 5. Contact information for three references
This work is funded by the National Park Service and is conducted primarily on Park Service and Military lands. Consequently, applicants must be US citizens and be able to pass a military background check that gives us access to some of the sites. Applicants must have completed a BSc in a related field. This position requires hard work, problem solving, attention to detail, and a tolerance for desert heat. This is a very physically demanding job which requires hiking to remote sites, odd hours and extended hours during seasonal rains, driving a 4WD safely on unmaintained roads, and coordinating with agency personnel. Applicants should expect to encounter venomous snakes and invertebrates and large carnivores. Rock climbing or scrambling experience is helpful but not required. Preference will be given to motivated candidates with excellent communication skills.
Contact Person
Kerry Griffis-Kyle
Contact eMail
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