We are searching for a PhD student to work as part of a team studying the ecology of bobcats on coastal barrier islands in South Carolina. Specifically, the primary focus of the selected student’s research will be on Kiawah Island where the bobcat population has declined >67% in the past 3 years, and at least 7 bobcat deaths in the past year have been attributed to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGA) poisoning. Accordingly, this project will involve capture of bobcats on Kiawah Island to monitor SGA concentrations in blood and use of GPS collars to monitor bobcat behavior and survival. The student will also be expected to analyze historical mark-recapture (since 2009) and GPS collar datasets (>140,000 locations collected since 2007) to evaluate long-term patterns in bobcat habitat use, behavior and survival on Kiawah island in relation to land use change and development. Additional data are expected to be collected and analyzed related to bobcat diet and native and non-native small mammal (i.e., prey) abundance across the island, and SGA concentrations in other small carnivores. There are also plans to monitor bobcats on a second (undeveloped) island for comparative purposes.
The selected student will be supported by a graduate research assistantship for 4 years, along with a tuition waiver to attend Clemson University in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation within the lab group of Dr. David Jachowski (https://davidjachowski.weebly.com/). The student will also be mentored by Clemson faculty members Dr. Thomas Rainwater and Dr. Greg Yarrow.
A BS and MS degree in a relevant field (e.g., ecology, wildlife biology) is required by the time of starting the position. We encourage candidates to highlight in their cover letter any previous evidence of (1) the ability to work independently and problem solve while in the field, (2) using modern quantitative data analysis approaches, and (3) strong scientific writing skills. In addition, this research is highly collaborative and involves working with several state and area biologists, so we are looking for a person with strong communication skills who can work as part of team. Finally, given the high level of local and regional interest in this bobcat population, we are interested in applicants who have experience interacting with private landowners and the general public. Previous experience in capture and handling of bobcats or similarly size carnivores is valued, but not necessary.
Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, unofficial transcripts, and GRE scores as a single PDF file to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to February 15, 2021. Applications will be reviewed starting immediately, with the expectation that the selected student would start as early as May 2021 (although there is the possibility of a later start date).