The Applied Behavioral Ecology Lab in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University is seeking applicants for a Ph.D. position to begin after January 1, 2022. Reconnection of rivers to lakes and oceans is a substantial conservation challenge in the Great Lakes and in many places around the globe. One critical challenge in the Great Lakes is to create fish passage devices that will selectively pass native fishes while blocking and removing the invasive sea lamprey. The focus of this Ph.D. project is to develop and test a novel approach to achieving selective fish passage. The approach relies on the manipulation of chemical information the animal uses to manage predation risk, along with manipulation of environmental conditions (e.g. flow velocity and turbulence), and incorporation of a removal device that targets anguilliform swimming fishes (an eel ladder). The goal of our lab is to achieve translational science. Our projects utilize fundamental understanding of the behavioral and cognitive mechanisms that regulate animal decision-making, and then directly manipulate information landscapes to achieve conservation goals in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. The student on this project will be collaborating with a team that includes a hydraulic engineer at the University of Michigan, and a fish passage expert working with the US Geological survey’s Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory in Massachusetts. The project will integrate hydraulic modeling, movement ecology and fishway engineering, and involves testing in large-scale flumes with live fishes. Excitingly, the final year of the project will include full-scale field testing of a prototype at a new fish passage research facility in Traverse City, MI.
We seek well-qualified applicants who desire an impactful career of applying deep scientific investigations to the creation of effective solutions to wicked environmental problems. Well qualified candidates with have: an M.S. in aquatic or marine ecology, movement ecology, fish ecology, or a related field; a competitive GPA and GRE scores; a desire to work in collaborative groups with scientists and conservation managers; and, some experience working with quantitative data.