MS Assistantship in Marine and Environmental Biology-Louisiana

Nicholls State University
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
$4500/semester and tuition waiver
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Three Teaching Assistantships will be available for the Spring 2019 semester for the Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Biology program at Nicholls State University. Teaching Assistantships include tuition wavier and stipend of $4500 a semester. For more information about the program visit Admission requirements include: B.S. degree in science curriculum, minimum GPA of 3.0, and combined GRE (verbal + quantitative) of 300. Application procedure includes an online application and fee (, and cover letter, CV, official GRE scores and academic transcripts, and departmental application package ( including three letters of recommendation (forms included in departmental application). Deadline for applying is October 26, 2018. Application materials and questions regarding the program should be sent (email is preferred) to Dr. Chris Bonvillain, Department of Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 2021, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA 70310, 985-449-7116, See Graduate Faculty ( and Research Labs ( for more information on faculty research interests. Some potential research projects associated with the positions are listed below: Dr. Raj Boopathy ( Antibiotics are known to enter the environment, not only by human excretion, but also through livestock/aquaculture, healthcare facilities, and pharmaceutical industry waste. Once in the environment, antibiotics have the ability to provide a selective pressure in microbial communities thus selecting for resistance. Bayou Terrebonne of Southeastern Louisiana serves as the major recreational and transportation canal for more than 30,000 people in the region and has previously been shown to receive high amounts of fecal contamination. Five sites along the bayou will be monitored for water chemistry, total and fecal coliform estimates, and presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistant genes (ARG) for a period of one year. Four waste-associated bacterial isolates will be tested for resistance to antibiotics (tetracycline, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, cefoxitin, meropenem, imipenem, erythromycin, and vancomycin). Resistant bacteria will be further examined with PCR/electrophoresis to confirm the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (Sul1, tet(A), tet(W), tet(X), IMP, KPC, and OXA-48). High fecal coliforms and presence of ARB/ARG may both indicate a presence of anthropogenic or agricultural source of fecal contamination. Dr. Tim Clay ( The Clay Lab at Nicholls State University is seeking a MS student interested in amphibian life history and physiology for Spring 2019. Potential projects in our lab could include working with Dusky Salamanders in the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and/or a recently introduced population of Cuban Tree Frogs in New Orleans. Salamander work would be collaborative and part of a larger project with the University of Tulsa. Specifically, the student would measure salamander abundance and environmental factors with the goal of producing species distribution maps. This collaboration would potentially allow for phylogenetic work as well. Cuban Tree Frog work would consist of life history measures concerned with diet and growth of both adults and larvae, with comparisons with our native tree frogs. The data collected from this project could also be used in the production of species distribution models measuring their potential spread to the surrounding areas. Dr. Allyse Ferrara ( The successful applicant will work with spotted gar and alligator gar production and grow out, a variety of coastal restoration projects and will develop a unique thesis project. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license and must have experience driving and hauling boats. Experience in harsh field conditions and aquatic systems is preferred. Dr. Raj Nathaniel ( The research focus in this lab is on infectious diseases and immune aspects of the estuary. Description of research projects: (1) innate immune response in common coastal fish species in particular the function of complement proteins. (2) investigating the presence of anti-microbial peptides in fish blood (3) evaluating properties of fish skin with respect to their use in wound healing. (4) characterizing immune responses in the blue crab. (5) public health epidemiology related to the prevalence and incidence rates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus within the coastal population. (6) identification of anthropogenic sources of fecal contamination of water bodies in the estuary region using molecular technology. Dr. Jonathan Willis ( The Applied Plant Sciences Laboratory at Nicholls State University seeks applicants to investigate the abundance of microplastics in Louisiana wetland habitat types and their interaction with dominant macrophytes. This research will include field investigations and experimental manipulations in controlled settings, with the overall goal of informing environmental management to enhance surface water quality. Dr. Enmin Zou ( Multiple M.S. graduate positions are currently available in Dr. Enmin Zou’s Aquatic Toxicology lab to study the endocrine mechanism for shell hardening in blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and its disruption by xenobiotics as well as heavy metals. The students will be trained in a variety of techniques, such as quantitative real-time PCR, enzymatic assay and metal analysis. For details, please contact Dr. Enmin Zou via or 985-448-4711.
B.S. degree in science curriculum, minimum GPA of 3.0, and combined GRE (verbal + quantitative) of 300. Application procedure includes an University online application and fee (, Cover letter, CV, official GRE scores and academic transcripts, and departmental application package ( including three letters of recommendation (forms included in departmental application) should be emailed or mailed to Dr. Bonvillain.
Contact Person
Dr. Chris Bonvillain
Contact eMail
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