Ph.D. Assistantship, Pronghorn Ecology, Oklahoma

Natural Resource Ecology & Management, Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK, USA
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
We are recruiting an ambitious PhD student to evaluate the population demography and ecology of pronghorn in the Oklahoma panhandle (Cimarron and Texas Counties) as part of a collaboration between the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University, the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M-Kingsville, and East Central University in Oklahoma. The pronghorn population in western Oklahoma has decreased over the last decade. It is unclear whether this decline is due to predation, climate change, or movements of pronghorn among states in response to changes in food or water resource availability. The selected candidate will use GPS and VHF collars to assess population dynamics by estimating vital rates, determining cause-specific mortality (including the role of parasites, predators, and nutritional condition), and using integrated population modeling techniques to model population growth. The selected candidate will assess composition and nutritional quality of pronghorn diet and combine those data with movement-based estimates of energy expenditure to build an energetics model for pronghorn. Opportunities to address social behavior or local movements exist, depending on the interests of the candidate. Funding is available for 4 years (August 2022–June 2026), while working towards a PhD degree in Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University. The selected candidate will be expected to work closely with biologists from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and neighboring states (TX, NM, CO. and KS), private landowners, and researchers from collaborating universities. The PhD position includes a graduate stipend of $22,300 annually, resident and non-resident tuition waiver, and health insurance at $20 per month (for student only; family coverage is available for an additional fee). The selected candidate will conduct research in the Chitwood ( and Fairbanks ( labs, which work on a wide range of research projects in wildlife ecology and management, with an emphasis on the ecology of large mammals and carnivores. The selected candidate will also work closely with the Lonsinger ( lab. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and fostering an environment where diversity is accepted and encouraged. We encourage all interested people to apply despite preconceived notions of their own experience as it relates to this project’s objectives. To Apply: Please combine the following into a single PDF file: (1) a 1–2-page cover letter that details why you are interested in this position, your most relevant experiences, and your professional goals/aspirations; (2) a Curriculum Vitae; (3) contact information for 3 references (i.e., name, affiliation, email, and phone number); (4) unofficial GRE scores; and (5) unofficial transcripts. Please include your last name in the title of the PDF. Send the PDF file as an attachment to no later than 1 November 2021 with the subject line of the email titled “PhD Pronghorn Position.” Electronic (email) submission of applications is encouraged but mail is also fine; mailed applications should be postmarked by 1 November 2021 and sent to Colter Chitwood, 008C Agriculture Hall, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078. Please note that application review will begin 15 October 2021, and a candidate may be selected before the closing date of 1 November 2021. Institutional Information: Oklahoma State University (OSU) is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, which is within an hour of both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. OSU is a land-grant institution with an enrollment of ~25,000 students, and it is located on the ancestral lands of the Kickapoo, Osage, Kiowa, and Quapaw peoples. Indigenous people from other Native nations also reside here, many of whom were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. They all contribute to the history and current vitality of our region. The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management is part of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and conducts interdisciplinary research, instruction, and extension education to address the sustainable management and conservation of the wildlife, forest, rangeland, and fishery resources of Oklahoma and beyond. The Department is a source of cutting-edge research, quality instruction, and effective outreach to students, landowners, managers, and public agencies. Any offer of employment is contingent on the university’s verification of credentials and other information required by law and/or university policies, including but not limited to a criminal background check. Oklahoma State University, as an equal opportunity employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. Oklahoma State University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all individuals and does not discriminate based on race, religion, age, sex, color, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, or veteran status with regard to employment, educational programs and activities, and/or admissions.
Minimum Qualifications: • MS in wildlife management, natural resources, ecology, or a closely related discipline • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater (as required by the Department and Graduate College) • Previous field and animal handling experience • Experience planning and coordinating daily field activities • Experience conducting independent research • Highly motivated with a strong work ethic • Ability to walk/run over rugged terrain, sometimes in extreme conditions (heat, cold) • A valid US driver license (without restrictions) Additional Desired Qualifications: • A strong interest in the ecology and management of mammals • Have taken the GRE • Experience capturing and handling neonates • Experience with radio telemetry • Experience with R • Experience with technical writing and/or publication
Contact Person
Dr. Colter Chitwood
Contact Phone
Contact eMail
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