I seek a highly motivated Ph.D. student to lead a multi-year study evaluating seasonal space use, migration, and demography of greater sage-grouse northern Montana. The primary objectives of the study are to:
1. Identify factors influencing space use and seasonal habitat selection by sage-grouse corresponding to important life history stages and disease risk.
2. Evaluate seasonal migration patterns of sage-grouse populations occurring in the North Central Montana Sagebrush Focal Area.
3. Evaluate whether shared habitat use between vectors and hosts is associated with West Nile infection status.
4. Delineate important seasonal sage-grouse habitats within the North Central SFA.
5. Assess important demographic parameters for sage-grouse in the North Central Sage-grouse Focal Area and quantify associations with biotic and abiotic habitat conditions and disease risk.
The study will pair GPS satellite transmitter equipped sage-grouse with field and remotely-sensed habitat conditions to build predictive models of habitat selection, migration ecology, and demography. In addition to 45 satellite transmitters, the student will have access to and be encouraged to utilize a recently acquired unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with thermal and multispectral imagers to construct highly resolute habitat maps that can be used to predict response metrics of interest and delineate important seasonal habitats for sage-grouse. Information from this work will be used in the development of land use and management plans by the Bureau of Land Management. The successful candidate will matriculate with a Ph.D. from Montana State University’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences.
M.S. in Wildlife Ecology or related discipline; GPA > 3.0 and competitive GRE scores, English proficiency and valid driver license. A strong work ethic and field skills, project management experience, excellent verbal and written communication skills, and ability to successfully lead field research crews is required. Research will occur on public and private lands and good personal skills are required; experience interacting and working with landowners/producers is a plus. Preferred candidates will have experience trapping and handling grouse, measuring vegetation, using a GIS, and conducting statistical analyses. Previous research experience with sage-grouse, quantitative methods related to resource selection and demographic analyses, statistical programming knowledge, and demonstrated scientific writing experience will put a candidate at the top of the list.
To apply, send a letter of interest, CV, transcripts, GRE scores, and contact information for 3 references to Dr. Lance McNew at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for applications is 11/30/2017 but applications will be reviewed as they are received and the position will remain open until filled.