Three graduate research assistantships (Ph.D. or M.S.) in applied aquatic ecology and limnology are available in Alan Wilson’s lab at Auburn University (http://www.wilsonlab.com). Current lab research projects, including USDA ARS and NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity grants, take advantage of our field station that includes hundreds of aquaculture ponds and nearby recreational and drinking water reservoirs. Here, we pursue basic and applied questions associated with understanding the ecological, evolutionary, and limnological mechanisms controlling the structure and function of freshwater plankton communities. Harmful algal blooms are the foci for many of our projects. My students are welcome to participate on existing projects, which include large-scale field experiments and monitoring, lab-based analytical analyses, modeling, and meta-analysis, but are strongly encouraged to develop their own projects in addition to applying for external grants and fellowships. There are abundant opportunities to work directly with important stakeholders, such as aquaculture farmers, water utilities, and natural resource managers.
I am motivated to maintain a productive, diverse, and inclusive lab and encourage students from under-represented groups to consider joining us. Moreover, lab members have numerous opportunities to engage students from institutions with limited research opportunities, students with disabilities, and students in financial need in their research and outreach projects through current NSF projects (REU, INCLUDES, S-STEM).
Ideal candidates will be hard-working, honest, highly motivated, team-oriented, and excited about studying freshwater plankton communities. Prior coursework in ecology, limnology, and statistics, a strong interest in mentoring undergraduates and participating in outreach, and relevant research experiences (including analytical skills, such GC-MS, GC-FID, HPLC, ELISA) are desirable, but not required. Minimum qualifications include a B.S./B.A. (for M.S. position) or M.S. (for Ph.D. position) in Biology, Ecology, or related field; GPA of 3.2 or greater; and above average GRE scores (at least 50th percentile for quantitative and verbal; at least 4.0 for analytical writing).