A graduate research assistantship (MS) investigating the relationships between plant community diversity, exotic species, patch-burn grazing and variable winter snow conditions in northern grasslands is available in the School of Natural Resource Sciences at North Dakota State University. The student will investigate plant community dynamics under variable winter snow pack conditions. Regional climate shifts and decreasing winter snow cover are creating thermal and moisture conditions that may alter competition between native and exotic species. The lack of snow cover exposes plants to harsh winter conditions which may impact growing-season competition, particularly with the shallow-rooted exotic species Kentucky bluegrass. Additionally, there is flexibility to pursue additional questions specific to the students expertise and interests, but centered on understanding of native plant community dynamics in working grassland landscapes. The study locations represents one of the most unique grassland complexes in North America and hosts an extremely diverse vegetation, pollinator and grassland bird community. Several graduate students will be working simultaneously and opportunities to collaborate are encouraged. Summer housing is provided at the university field station and annual stipend is $19,000 (cost of living increases annually) plus a full tuition-waiver.
The position may begin Spring or Summer term 2022.
Candidates must have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a valid driver’s license. The most competitive applicants will have field experience including previous work with grassland plant species identification, prescribed fire and land management practices. Students will be expected to work well independently and with a team.