This position is for a PhD student in ecology within an NSF-funded project studying the ecological legacy effects of elephant carcasses in African savanna ecosystems. Fieldwork will be in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. The student will be advised by Dr. Johan du Toit at USU and will work in a team of collaborators from UC Santa Barbara, Marquette University, and various South African institutions. This position will focus on the effects across space (landscape scale) and time (decadal scale) of elephant carcasses on ecosystem processes that influence communities of plants and large mammals. Fieldwork will offer an exciting and unparalleled opportunity to work in pristine savanna ecosystems across gradients of rainfall and soil nutrients. It will also require a special combination of personal attributes including self-reliance under the challenging conditions presented by the study system.
Minimum qualifications: An MS degree in ecology, wildlife, biology, or other related discipline. Exceptional applicants with a BS degree will be considered if they have relevant experience and preferred skills.
Preferred skills: Strong quantitative skills, passion for natural history, ecology, and evolution, self-reliance, enthusiasm for adventure, diplomacy, common sense, high responsibility, physical fitness. Applicants will need to confirm their preparedness to conduct fieldwork involving 4x4 driving, hiking through thick bush (accompanied by an armed guard) while being alert for wild animals, taking anti-malarial tablets, camping, working long hours in heat, and generally tolerating some discomfort in return for the unique opportunity of conducting research in Kruger. Candidates from minority groups are encouraged to apply and the selection process will respect the core values of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Application: E-mail a letter of interest, your full CV, academic transcripts, and names and contact details of three academic references to Dr. Johan du Toit, Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University: firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin on 1st February 2022.