We seek a PhD student to work with a collaborative and interdisciplinary group of researchers consisting of wildlife biologists, ecologists, natural resource economists, and sociologists.
The overarching goal of this research project is to examine how external drivers and range management affect the interrelationships between improving range productivity, ecosystem health, and the socio-economic outcomes in managed sagebrush rangelands. To achieve our goal, we are targeting three supporting objectives. First, to understand the complexity of grazing systems as it relates to primary productivity and sage-grouse habitat requirements. Second, to assess the sociological resiliency of rural communities across a spatial gradient to these changes in grazing management. Third, to identify how the effect of grazing management ultimately ties to sage-grouse demography.
The role of this PhD position within the context of the larger group of researchers is address the third objective. That is, to quantify the effects of livestock grazing-management and federal policy decisions on sage-grouse demography and population dynamics.
The PhD research will develop a dynamic spatio-temporal integrated population model linking pre-existing demographic data from 39 fields sites to sage grouse lek counts across the Great Basin. The research will use mechanistic process models, combined with appropriate uncertainty estimation of these mechanisms, to summarize what we understand about how ranch management affects sage-grouse populations. Additionally, the research will allow us to identify areas where our understanding of how vegetation drives important demographic processes is limited due to overwhelming uncertainty. This will help guide future hypotheses and target priority areas for data collection.
The student will be part of the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (EECB) PhD Program at the University of Nevada, Reno under supervision of Dr. Perry Williams (www.perrywilliams.us), and in collaboration with ecologists, economists, and sociologists from Oregon State University, University of Idaho, Montana State University, University of Wyoming, and Utah State University. The researcher will be based in Reno/Tahoe with occasional travel to other universities, conferences, and workshops.
How to Apply: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter (including earliest possible start date and summary of quantitative and programming experience), CV, unofficial transcripts, and names and contact information for three references to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1) M.S. in ecology, wildlife ecology, statistics, mathematics, or related field
2) Demonstrated publication record and desire to publish research findings
3) Proficiency with R Statistical Software
4) Fundamental understanding in probability and statistics
5) Ability to work independently
6) Ability to travel occasionally