MS assistantship on gopher tortoises – Georgia

Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Hunter Lab in the Biology Department at Georgia Southern University (GSU) is seeking applicants for a 2.5-year M.S. project on gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) population resilience to climate change. The project is a collaboration between GSU and the University of Nevada, Reno, and is funded by the Department of Defense. The project spans field sites across the gopher tortoise range, including at military bases. The project’s objectives are to (1) understand the complex pathways through which changing environmental conditions influence population vital rates, (2) use this information to derive population growth rates, assess population viability, and quantify critical habitats, and (3) develop a conservation planning tool that will aid managers in protecting tortoise populations and planning for an uncertain future. Field data collection efforts will focus on measuring vital rates for which linkages with environmental drivers are poorly understood – including offspring production, age-at-maturity, and hatchling sex ratios. GSU is a 27,000-student comprehensive research university with three campuses in southeastern Georgia ( The Department of Biology at the Statesboro campus has many resources available to students, including a new LEED certified research and teaching building, animal care facilities, and many possibilities for collaboration with our 40 faculty (a large proportion of which are ecologists and environmental scientists) as well as outside the department. The MS program in Biology has ~50 students. Graduate Program in Biology: Salary: $16,000/year. Salary will be a combination of research assistantship (3-4 semesters and 2 summers) and teaching assistantship (1-2 semesters). Housing will be provided in the field season. Start date is May 1, 2019 for the first field season, with matriculation into the graduate program in August 2019.
The graduate student will be expected to lead field crew(s) in data collection efforts. Prior field experience is required, preferably with tortoises or other turtle species. The student must be able to work both independently and with a team. Applicants should have a B.S. in wildlife management, natural resources, biology or a related field. Experience in statistical analyses and/or GIS skills is preferred, and interest in developing quantitative skills is required. Applicants should have good communication and writing skills and a strong work ethic. Students should ensure they meet the academic requirements of the graduate program at GSU (see links above). Before applying to the graduate program, contact Dr. Elizabeth Hunter at with a single PDF file that includes (1) a statement of research interests and experience (2) a CV or resume (3) GPA and GRE scores if available and (4) names and contact information for 3 academic or professional references.
Contact Person
Dr. Elizabeth Hunter
Contact eMail
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