PhD Assistantship: Mule Deer Population Dynamics and Spatial Ecology-Nebraska

University of Nebraska
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
$24-27,000/year + tuition waiver + health insurance
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
I am seeking a highly motivated ecologist interested in pursuing a PhD in Applied Ecology in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) as a graduate research assistant. Start date: May or August 2019 (and some flexibility beyond this). The student will play a central role in developing and conducting research on mule deer population dynamics, spatial ecology, and predator-prey interactions in multiple sites across western Nebraska. The research will involve deploying a large number of GPS (240, adult does) and VHF (~400, fawns) collars on mule deer and tracking them intensively across several sites that differ in density, population dynamics, sympatric predators, and habitat characteristics. Fieldwork will also involve deploying camera traps in both sites. The student will estimate and model survival, reproduction, density, and resource selection of mule deer relative to a number of potential drivers. Beyond that there is considerable intellectual freedom to develop basic and applied questions of interest to the student. All study areas are inhabited by coyotes, bobcats, and white-tailed deer. However, our study areas also include sites with and without mountain lions and bighorn sheep. We are particularly interested in the influence of mountain lions on mule deer behavior and demography. The student will also have opportunities to contribute to exciting research being conducted in our lab outside of Nebraska and the US with top predators and large herbivores. The successful applicant will join a dynamic and growing research lab pursuing a variety of basic and applied questions. This position will provide great opportunities for leading exciting fieldwork, authoring high-impact publications, and professional development.
M.S. degree in Wildlife, Ecology, or related field. A proven track record of academic excellence, successfully leading wildlife field projects, and publishing research findings in peer-reviewed journals are expected. Must have a minimum GPA of at least 3.0. GRE scores are required. A passion for basic and applied wildlife ecology are required. Demonstrated field, quantitative, and writing skills are required. Experience with statistical modeling in R, python, JAGS, etc. would be an asset. Ability to lead field crews, work effectively and professionally with agency and academic collaborators, and interact positively with private landowners are essential. Please email the following as a single PDF attachment to John Benson at 1) cover letter, 2) current CV, 3) unofficial transcripts, 4) copy of GRE scores (with percentiles for all 3 sections), 5) contact info for 3-5 references. At least one of these references must have a) worked directly in the field with the applicant and b) be capable of speaking to the writing/analysis skills of the applicant. Please also include any PDFs of peer-reviewed articles published as first author.
Contact Person
John Benson
Contact eMail
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