Grassland birds are declining at staggering rates, and researchers are striving to better understand the drivers of these declines and slow them. We are recruiting a PhD student to investigate drivers of avian abundance and community structure in the Great Plains. This student will be funded as part of the Dr. Fritz L. Knopf Doctoral Fellowship Program in Avian Conservation, and will be located in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) at Oklahoma State University. The preferred start date for this position is January 2022, but with possibility of a more flexible start date for outstanding applicants.
Dr. Knopf was dedicated to avian conservation, and this fellowship was endowed to continue this legacy and support promising students with a passion for tackling conservation challenges.
This position will draw from a combination of existing datasets as well as field-collected data to answer conservation-relevant questions related to factors that operate at landscape, regional, and/or national scales (e.g., land use practices, climate change, energy development, disturbance regimes). Potential projects include (but are not limited to) evaluating the interaction between climate and disturbance on grassland bird communities across the Great Plains, national scale assessments of bird mortality sources and the role of thermal environments in grassland bird survival. There will also be the opportunity to assist in deploying tags and analyzing movement data on tagged mountain plovers (A species of special import to Dr. Knopf) throughout the west to contribute to a broader project on the conservation of this imperiled species.
The fellow will work with a collaborative group including Drs. Courtney Duchardt, Scott Loss, Craig Davis, Dwayne Elmore, Sam Fuhlendorf, and Tim O’Connell. There will also be an opportunity to conduct collaborative side-projects and interact with other Knopf Fellows and to participate in, contribute to, and use data from existing field projects at OSU (examples of existing projects for the above faculty members can be seen on the NREM faculty web page: http://nrem.okstate.edu/people-1/faculty). The fellow will be expected to participate in grant applications, peer-reviewed and popular publications as first author and co-author, presentations at regional and national meetings, and professional organizations.
The funding provides a stipend for 4 years (~$21,000 per year), tuition and fees, health insurance, and a professional development allowance to present at conferences and for short-term research residencies in labs where other Knopf fellows are based. This position will be based in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University. OSU is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on the ancestral lands of the Kickapoo, Osage, Kiowa, and Quapaw peoples. Our collaborative group is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we are committed to training students to tackle the broad array of conservation issues that arise at the interface of humans and wildlife worldwide. Those solutions require people with different backgrounds, interests, and insights.
Applications will be reviewed as they are received.
Interested applicants should contact Dr. Duchardt (contact info below) and provide application materials in 1 document including 1) a one-page cover letter stating interest, 2) a CV, and 3) three professional references. "
Fellowship selection will be based on academic merit as demonstrated by: (1) Academic and professional strengths articulated in letters of nomination, (2) Clarity of direction and commitment to avian ecology research articulated in student’s letter of interest, (3) GPA and GRE scores, (4) Demonstration of effective oral and written communication as demonstrated by professional presentations and/or relevant research published in refereed scientific journals; and (5) Demonstrated leadership. Applicants with at least some experience using GIS and statistical analysis will be especially competitive. Experience with grassland ecosystems or avifauna is also desired. A master's degree is strongly preferred but may not be required for students with extensive independent research experience.