Ph.D. or M.S. Research Assistantship to study aspects of the urban ecology of the river otter: Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Stipend will be $2,364 per month plus a tuition-waiver and health benefits.
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
A MS or Ph.D. assistantship is available in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. The student will work on a comprehensive multi-year study of river otter ecology and conservation in a highly-urbanized landscape in the Chicago, Illinois, area. The study includes at least 2 field seasons. This project is an exciting opportunity to address a poorly understood aspect of urban wildlife ecology that deals with semi-aquatic carnivores. The student will conduct research on a multi-partnership project to determine river otter response to extensive urbanization, which will be used to develop conservation plans. River otters are apex predators in most aquatic systems, and are important indicators of ecosystem quality; however, their role in urban systems is virtually unknown. This research will occur in collaboration with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Cook County Animal and Rabies Control, and the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation. Fieldwork will take place in Cook County, Illinois, which is a major component of the larger Chicago system. Project objectives include: 1) conducting noninvasive monitoring for macro landscape use, 2) collecting and analyzing VHF telemetry data for fine scale movement and habitat use, 3) determining diets via stable isotope analysis, and estimating survival rates and identifying primary causes of mortality. We encourage the student to creatively expand on any components of the core project for their own dissertation/thesis research. Housing at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation ( is available during field seasons. At the Foundation, the student will also live and work with a team of technicians and graduate students working on a variety of related species, including urban coyotes ( This is a great opportunity to engage in novel research to support conservation planning in urban systems. Approximate start date is August 1, 2021.
Qualified applicants should have a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology or related field, a minimum 3.5/4.0 GPA, and a record of previous successful research including manuscripts in preparation or published. If applying for a M.S. position, qualified applicants should have a minimum of a 3.2/4.0 GPA, a BS/BA in biology, zoology, wildlife and fisheries science or related field, and some relevant research experience. Experience with livetrapping, GIS, telemetry, and R is strongly preferred. Additionally, we prefer candidates with prior experience/knowledge in mammalian carnivore ecology, although outstanding experience in general wildlife ecology will be considered. This work will involve a mix of noninvasive monitoring and intensive radiotracking techniques. Therefore, it is critical that a successful applicant have an interest in a combination of field techniques and quantitative data analysis, statistics, spatial modeling. To apply: Submit a single PDF labeled as Lastname_GradApplication.pdf containing 1) a cover letter [this should include a description about your academic career thus far and why you are interested in this project], 2) a CV, 3) the name and contact information of 3 references, and 4) unofficial transcripts. The Gehrt Lab is committed to increasing the representation of traditionally excluded groups and fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive research lab. Applications or questions about the position should be sent to Dr. Stan Gehrt at Application review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Contact Person
Dr. Stan Gehrt
Contact Phone
Contact eMail
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