PhD Assistantship – Gulf of Mexico Rails, Ducks, Prescribed Fire: Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Urbana, Illinois
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
50% Graduate Assistantship
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
PhD Research Assistantship: Applied Conservation and Management Illinois Natural History Survey Prairie Research Institute University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Project Description: A PhD research assistant position is available starting the Fall 2021 Semester to conduct research in applied conservation and management as part of the NOAA Firebirds project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The successful candidate will develop research projects within the following themes as a part of their doctoral dissertation: 1) conservation and ecology of rails, 2) habitat enhancement of high marsh ecosystems with prescribed fire, and 3) Structured Decision Making. The candidate will have the opportunity to narrow down specific research questions based on their interests. Research activities will be conducted from the INHS Forbes Biological Station and along the Gulf of Mexico Coast. Field activities will occur in Mississippi and Alabama, primarily, and will require the candidate to spend 3-4 months a year in the Gulf (Housing Provided). Additionally, as part of the NOAA Firebirds team, there will be opportunities for collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as professional development opportunities such as structured decision-making workshops. Further information about Forbes Biological Station and the NOAA Firebirds project can be found at: and The student will be advised by Dr. Auriel Fournier (, an Assistant Research Scientist and Director of the Forbes Biological Station at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS; and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences ( and Dr. T.J. Benson ( Senior Wildlife Ecologist at INHS and Research Associate Professor in NRES. The Illinois Natural History Survey is one of five scientific surveys housed within the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and the successful candidate will pursue their degree through the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at UIUC and the candidate must meet the minimum admission requirements of the NRES graduate program ( Salary and Appointment: This position includes a 50% research assistantship with a tuition waiver through the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Application: Applications should be received by March 1, 2021 for consideration. Interested applicants should email a single PDF to that includes: 1) cover letter stating why you are interested in the position and if/how you meet the qualifications listed above, 2) CV, 3) GRE Scores, 4) names and contact information for three professional references, and 5) copies of unofficial transcripts. Please put “Firebirds PhD Application” in the email subject line and include your last name in all attached file names. Please also feel free to reach out to Dr. Auriel Fournier if you have additional questions or would like to schedule a conversation. The successful applicant will be expected to formally apply to the NRES graduate program at UIUC. All admission decisions must be approved by the NRES Director of Graduate Studies. Deadline to apply to NRES is May 15, 2021. The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. For more information, visit
Qualifications: Bachelors degree in Biology, Ecology, Wildlife Science, or related field. Competitive candidates will have an interest in learning or expanding their quantitative skills, an interest in applied conservation and management, and expertise or experience with wetlands, marsh birds, or prescribed fire would be beneficial. Boating skills would also be helpful. A collaborative, positive attitude and eagerness to learn new skills are necessary for the successful candidate.
Contact Person
Auriel Fournier
Contact eMail
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.