PhD Assistantship – Monitoring & Ecology of Whip-poor-will and other Declining Nightjar Species: Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
A stipend of $1,700/month ($20,400/yr) will be provided along with full tuition waiver and health insurance at $20/month
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
A PhD assistantship is available in Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management as part of a collaboration among the Loss, O’Connell, and Lonsinger labs in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The research focus of the assistantship will include development and validation of a monitoring protocol for Eastern Whip-poor-will and other declining nightjar species in Oklahoma, and implementation of the protocol to identify nightjar habitat associations and preferences. The project will be part of a broader collaboration with other nightjar researchers in the eastern U.S., and the student will have an opportunity to develop additional research topics related to nightjar ecology and management. Possible additional topics include but are not limited to: nightjar food preferences/foraging ecology, factors influencing competitive interactions and range overlap among nightjar species, assessment of automated/remote monitoring approaches, and large-scale analyses using existing datasets on nightjar distributions and demography. This position will begin in January 2022, and 4 full years of funding are available, including 3 years of research assistantship funding and 1 year of teaching assistantship funding. Course TA assignments will be determined based on student interests and department needs, but the student will likely have the opportunity to TA our Ornithology and/or Applied Ecology field courses. About the Loss, O’Connell, and Lonsinger labs: Our labs lead and collaborate on a wide range of research projects in natural resource ecology and management, with strong emphases on wildlife ecology and management and major global change issues like climate change, diseases, invasive species, and urbanization. For more information about our labs, see: Loss Lab: O’Connell Lab: Lonsinger lab: About Oklahoma and OSU: Oklahoma is one of the most ecologically diverse states, with ecosystems ranging from forested mountains in the east to mesas and canyons in the west, and including some of the largest remaining tracts of prairies in the world. Recreational opportunities abound, with national forests, grasslands, and wildlife refuges all within 2-3 hours of Stillwater, where OSU is located. In addition, Stillwater is 1 hour from both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, which have additional opportunities for recreation, sporting events, music, the arts, restaurants, numerous craft breweries, etc. 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.
Qualifications: Ideal applicants will possess a master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology/Management, Natural Resources, Ecology, or a related field; applicants with a BS but no master’s degree may be considered if they display extensive past experience leading mentored research projects. The applicant must have a strong work ethic and sense of self-motivation, strong written and oral communication skills including experience communicating with the public during fieldwork, and an ability to work independently and to supervise a small field crew in remote locations (past supervisory and/or management experience is highly preferred). Applicants with experience publishing results of scientific research, presenting at professional conferences, and/or designing and implementing monitoring programs for birds or other wildlife will be especially competitive. A US driver’s license is required. To Apply: Send applications to Scott Loss ( by August 2nd, 2021; applications should consist of a single zip file or merged pdf file that includes: (1) a cover letter outlining how you meet required and preferred qualifications, (2) a CV, (3) unofficial academic transcripts, and (4) contact information for three references. We are committed to fostering an environment where diversity of background and thought is accepted and encouraged, and we encourage all interested people to apply despite preconceived notions of their own experience as it relates to this project’s objectives. 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.
Contact Person
Scott Loss
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