M.S. or Ph.D. Position – Comparative Demography and Life Histories of Island and Mainland Reptile Species

Penn State University
State College PA
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
>= $30,000
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
We are recruiting a graduate student (either M.S. or Ph.D.) to begin in the fall of 2023 on a project focused on understanding the demography of dwarfism for reptile species of the Channel Islands of California. The student will work as part of a multi-university, multi-disciplinary team working on understanding the genetic, physiological, and life-history under-pinnings of shifts in body size between mainland and island populations. The student will join the Applied Population Ecology Lab at Penn State University in the Dept. of Ecosystem Science and Management and be advised by Dr. David Miller (appliedpopeco.com) and be co-supervised by Dr. Amanda Sparkman at Westmont College (sparkmanlab.com). Other collaborators on the project are Dr. Tonia Schwartz and Dr. Melody Russell at Auburn University. The project will focus on demographic measures—including fecundity and reproductive investment, growth and timing of maturation, and survival and longevity—between mainland and island populations of five reptile species (three of which exhibit island dwarfism and two that do not). The student will also assist with data collection at multiple island and mainland field sites in California. Potential topics for student research may include understanding general allometric scaling of life-history in reptiles, understanding how quantity and quality of offspring differs between populations using field ultrasound techniques, analysis of mark-recapture data to estimate growth and survival, and linking physiological and demographic measures to understand individual and population-level variation.
The ideal candidate will be motivated by research that combines field data collection and analysis of demographic data. Specific interests may vary and could include quantitative ecology, population demography, life-history evolution, reptile ecology, and eco-physiology. In addition, we seek candidates who are committed to contributing to an inclusive research and educational team. To apply: We encourage potential students interested in either an M.S. or Ph.D. to apply and especially encourage applicants from under-represented groups. Interested applicants should email a short cover letter including a description of their research interests, CV (including GPA and relevant coursework), and names and contact information for three references as a single pdf file to Dr. David Miller (dxm84@psu.edu) and Dr. Amanda Sparkman (sparkman@westmont.edu). Please use "Comparative Demography of Reptiles Graduate Position" in the email subject line . The position is open until filled, but we will begin to review applications as they arrive and hope to complete our initial review no later than January 10th.
Contact Person
Dr. David Miller
Contact eMail
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