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M.S. Graduate Research Assistantship

Job Type: full-time temporary position

Location: South Dakota

Posting Date: 27 Jun 14

Closing Date: 26 Sep 14

Availability: Immediately

Seeking a highly motivated and qualified individual interested in grassland ecology in the northern Great Plains. The successful applicant will evaluate vegetation spatial and temporal dynamics following disturbance (e.g. prairie dog /livestock grazing, drought, and invasion of invasive species) and will focus on the roles of the soil bud bank and seed bank on plant community recovery following disturbance.

Key Responsibilities:
1. Perform vegetation and soil sampling within designed study sites in South Dakota
2. Perform field, greenhouse and laboratory experiments, and data collection
3. Organize, track, and process vegetation and soil samples following collection
4. Prepare reports for funding agencies
5. Analyze research data and prepare presentations for local and national meetings
6. Assist in design, execution, and evaluation of research projects, including literature review, field surveys, sample collection, greenhouse experiment and data analyses
7. Prepare peer-reviewed journal article(s)
8. Assist teaching for undergraduate courses as needed

Skills and Qualifications:
1. Must have a B.S. degree in Plant Ecology, Botany, Range Science, Biology, Ecology, Natural Resource Management, or a closely related field with strong academic record.
2. Experience with grassland ecosystems, vegetation sampling techniques, and grassland plant identification
3. Enthusiastic, highly self-motivated, self-management, strong commitment and detail orientation and reliable data-collection and recording
4. Demonstrate a strong work ethic and ability to take responsibility in meeting deadlines and making progress. Able to adapt to long, non-regular work hours as needed
5. Strong spoken and written communications skills, and willing to regularly communicate/meet with advisor(s)
6. Ability to work independently and as a productive team member
7. Strong existing computer skills with Microsoft Office programs
8. Preferred experience with statistical analysis programs, GPS, Arc GIS, and seedling identification.

Assistantship: Include annual stipend and 2/3 waiver of in-state tuition (in-state and out-of –state students pay 1/3 of in-state tuition). SDSU is a land grant university and the state's largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of approximately 13,000 students and vibrant Biological Sciences graduate program.

To apply: Interested individuals should send via email a full CV with cover letter (include GRE scores), transcripts, description of your research interests, relevent experience, and goals, and contacts of three professional references to Dr. Lan Xu, Students whose first language is not English are required to take the TOEFL exam. Suitable candidate will be encouraged to submit a formal application to the graduate school. Application Instructions & Admission Requirements can be found at:


Contact Information:

Lan Xu
Department of Natural Resource Management; Box 2104A, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007
Phone: 605-688-4564 Fax: 605-688-6677; E-mail:

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