M.S. Graduate Assistantship – Interactions between native and exotic suids in South Texas

Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Kingsville, Texas and the South Texas region
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
$1,800 per month, plus benefits and tuition
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
South Texas is currently home to two non-native suids: feral swine, and more recently, feral populations of warthogs. Feral swine have long been considered invasive species in Texas, outcompeting native species for resources and damaging the landscape. The presence of warthogs presents an unknown threat, with the potential to impact rangeland and native wildlife. Little is known about warthog ecology in the South Texas region. Feral swine are known to affect the habit use of native species, such as the collared peccary, or javelina. The presence of warthogs may impact both feral swine and javelina, yet the lack of feasible survey and monitoring methods for the species inhibits understanding their potential impacts. Successful applicant will 1) employ remote camera surveys using unmarked animals, a cost-effective yet informative means to study niche partitioning and derive estimates of abundance and habitat use among feral swine, warthogs, and javelina. Specifically, use time to event or random encounter models to estimate spatial overlap and abundance of the 3 species; and 2) evaluate aerial surveys using drones/thermal cameras as an independent estimator for population sizes of the 3 species. Results of this study will have direct input into applied management, such as USDA Wildlife Services and state wildlife agencies that are tasked with managing non-native suids. Specifically, the results will inform the importance of native vs. non-native species interactions, relative to competition and rangeland damage and provide the first in-depth surveys for feral warthogs in South Texas. Successful applicant will work closely with state and federal researchers in collaboration with scientists from the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, have the opportunity to present research at regional and national scientific conferences and to stakeholders, and will be expected to publish their results in peer-reviewed journals. Location: Successful applicant will pursue a M.S. in Wildlife and Rangeland Sciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute is a research unit of the university, with 18 scientists and about 45 M.S. and Ph.D. students. TAMUK has an enrollment of about 8,000 and is located in Kingsville, TX, a city of about 26,000 in the south coastal plains. Kingsville is surrounded by the historic King Ranch and is about 40 miles south of Corpus Christi, TX. Field research will be conducted on public and private lands in southern Texas. Stipend/Salary: $1,800/month plus benefits (medical package has a 60-day waiting period). Non-resident tuition is waived; tuition assistance provided to cover resident tuition cost. Start Date: negotiable, prefer January 2023.
Required: B.S. degree in ecology, wildlife science, range science, biology, or related fields. Competitive applicants will have a strong work ethic, quantitative skills, good verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to work independently as well as a productive member of a research team. Ability to operate 4-wheel drive vehicles and conduct field research under challenging conditions. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Familiarity with population estimation, remote cameras, and quantitative or programming skills (R, SAS, Python, etc.) would be helpful but not required. Preferred: background and interest in large mammal ecology, ecological interactions, or effects of invasive species on native flora and fauna. Males aged 18 through 25 must be properly registered with the Federal Selective Service System to be eligible for employment. Texas A&M University-Kingsville is committed to excellence; the University invites applications from all qualified applicants. EEO/AA/ADA Application Deadline: Begin reviewing applications as received and will continue until a suitable candidate is selected. To Apply: Application packet must consist of 1) cover letter stating interests and career goals, 2) resume or CV, 3) academic transcripts (and GRE scores, if available) and 4) contact information for 3 references. Send the application as a single PDF file via e-mail with a subject line of ‘Native and exotic suids MS application’ to: Randy DeYoung, PhD Research Scientist and Professor Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Email: r.deyoung@tamuk.edu
Contact Person
Randy DeYoung, PhD
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