M.S. Assistantship – Assessing Priority Upland Bird Response to Pine Management – Mississippi

Mississippi State University
Starkville, MS
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Position includes $16,500/yr stipend, tuition waiver and health insurance.
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Pine forest management is an important determinant of avian communities in Mississippi and the southeastern U.S. Prior to European settlement pine systems in the Southeast were often characterized by open understories, with substantial herbaceous groundcover due to frequent disturbances like fire and windthrow. The result was an avian community adapted to open pine structural conditions – including red-cockaded woodpecker, Bachman’s sparrow, northern bobwhite and several others. We are seeking a M.S. student with an interest in upland bird response to habitat management to conduct a 2-year study assessing seasonal habitat use and associations with forest structural conditions created by open pine management. The study will take place on five management units on Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, in Noxubee and Winston Counties in Mississippi. This work is a continuation of an existing research effort and the student will be responsible for the 5th and 6th year of field data collection and completion of a 6-year quantitative analysis examining bird response to management and bird-habitat associations on up to 400 survey points. The student will focus on analysis of steeply-declining priority pine bird species including red-cockaded woodpecker, Bachman’s sparrow, northern bobwhite, brown-headed nuthatch and prairie warbler. The position will require strong quantitative skills and strong field skills, along with the ability to work and think independently. Data will be used to help inform refuge- and regional-level conservation planning efforts for open pine bird species in Southeastern forest systems.
Bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science, biological sciences, ecology, natural resource science, or other related fields with GPA >3.0 and competitive GRE scores. Student must be self-motivated, safety-oriented, able to work independently during very early-morning hours in hot and humid weather conditions, and have at least introductory experience with quantitative analysis in program R (or equivalent) and with scientific writing. Experience working in field conditions in remote areas/rural landscapes monitoring avian species preferred. Preference will be given to applicants with expertise in southeastern U.S. land bird species identification by sight and sound, particularly pineland bird species. Experience conducting research or monitoring in managed pine landscapes, and programming data analysis in R a plus. To apply please email the following materials to Kristine Evans (kristine.evans@msstate.edu) with a subject line as follows (YOURNAME_ManagedPineMSAssistantship), and attachments including: 1) a cover letter describing interest and professional goals; 2) a resume; 3) contact information for three references; 4) copies of academic transcripts (unofficial okay), and GRE scores. Application review will begin September 6, 2019 and continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is January 1, 2019. For more information contact Kristine Evans (kristine.evans@msstate.edu) (Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture). MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.
Contact Person
Dr. Kristine Evans (Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture)
Contact Phone
Contact eMail
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