The Frey Lab for Mammalian Diversity and Conservation seeks a highly motivated Master’s student to assist with research on ecological relationships and conservation of the Peñasco Least Chipmunk (Neotamias minimus atristriatus). This chipmunk is proposed for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act and the research will directly contribute to its conservation and management. The chipmunk occurs in the White Mountain Wilderness Area of the Lincoln National Forest in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico, about 2 hrs from the NMSU campus. The study will focus on the chipmunk’s behavioral plasticity and ability to persist in environments modified by wildfire and climate change. While least chipmunks are typically associated with coniferous forests, this study will focus on a subpopulation that exists in an environment that has been radically altered by historical wildfire and now is a persistent oak woodland. It is anticipated that these altered post-fire communities will become more pervasive following wildfires as the climate continues to warm. Thus, the results of the study will have ramifications beyond just the chipmunk and will provide better understanding about how forest wildlife might adapt to altered ecosystems following wildfire in warming climate. Because the chipmunk population is so small, data collection will primarily utilize non-invasive methods such as remote cameras paired with modern statistical modeling approaches. The use of cameras will provide opportunity for examination of the broader mammal community within the system.
The student must be able to live and work in a remote area while in the field. A base camp will be established along a forest access road, but access to the study areas will require hiking. The student will need to be able to backpack equipment long distances (ca 4 miles) at high elevation (8,500-10,000 ft) and steep terrain. The student will supervise one or more undergraduate field assistants and volunteers. The student is expected to present their research at professional conferences, publish research results in peer-reviewed journals, and assist with preparation of agency reports and grant proposals. The study will form the basis of the student’s Masters thesis in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology at New Mexico State University. Annual salary is $24,580 plus in-state tuition waiver. The starting date is 10 January 2022 and is anticipated for 2.5 years.
• Bachelor’s degree in wildlife science, biology, or conservation ecology
• > 3.4 GPA
• Must be able to backpack (up to 6 mi per day) over rugged terrain at high elevations (>8500 ft) and in inclement weather. Must be able to camp in a backcountry situation.
• Ability to supervise undergraduate field assistants
• Highly competitive GRE scores (e.g., > 70th percentile on verbal and quantitative portion)
• Small mammal trapping experience
• Backcountry experience (wilderness backpacking, first aid, etc)
• Use of remote cameras in wildlife research
• Quantitative aptitude and statistical knowledge
• Experience using ArcGIS
• Experience using R
• Excellent writing ability
• Experience conducting research
For consideration, please email Dr. Frey a single PDF document that includes: initial letter of interest, resume, unofficial transcripts, and GRE scores. The letter of interest must explain your experience relevant to the minimum and preferred qualifications and how the position would fit with your academic and professional goals. Letters that do not address these points will not be considered. Please include “Post-fire Graduate Assistantship Application” in the email subject line. MATERIALS WILL BE REVIEWED AS RECEIVED AND THE POSITION FILLED UPON FINDING A SUITABLE APPLICANT. Information about the department can be found at http://aces.nmsu.edu/academics/fws/.
Dr. Jennifer K. Frey, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology, PO Box 3003, Campus Box 4901, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88003-0003; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jennifer_Frey3; email@example.com.