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Ph.D. Research Assistantship in Spatial Ecology

Job Type: full-time temporary position

Location: Michigan

Posting Date: 25 Jan 14

Closing Date: 26 Apr 14

PhD Research Assistantship – Spatial Ecology and Behavior of Feral Swine in Michigan
Drs. Gary J. Roloff and Robert Montgomery
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Michigan State University
480 Wilson Road, Room 13 Natural Resources Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

A PhD-level position for graduate study is available for Summer or Fall 2014 to work as part of a large research team evaluating the habitat use, breeding ecology, movement ecology, and potential for disease transmission in Michigan feral swine. We are seeking a candidate with an interest and skills in quantitative spatial ecology with a wildlife background. The successful candidate will work with GPS and accelerometer data to quantify feral swine space use, movements, and behaviors. Fieldwork will occur primarily in the central portion of the Lower Peninsula, Michigan. The successful candidate may be required to spend prolonged periods (i.e., months) at a field house and potentially work in adverse conditions. The successful candidate will also be required to operate a 4X4 truck, quad, snow mobile, and fly in a fixed-wing plane. Responsibilities include 1) assisting with the live-trapping and radio-collaring of feral swine, 2) quantifying feral swine hourly, daily and seasonal movements and habitat use patterns with respect to land ownership, land cover type, and proximity to domestic swine production facilities and urban areas, 3) identifying the spatial extent of feral swine rooting activities and leading a field effort in quantifying the ecological damage associated with those locations, 4) quantifying feral swine dispersal capabilities and routes, and 5) developing resource selection functions (RSFs) that can be used to model the likelihood of feral swine use across large landscapes. A desire to work directly with state and federal agencies and the general public to advance resource management is an absolute requirement for this position. We are also seeking an individual that has demonstrated effective written and oral communication skills and is comfortable interacting with stakeholder groups having diverse interests. Opportunities exist (and are encouraged) to develop other research questions and supplement the funded project with additional grants.

This is a 4-year funded research assistantship through the MDNR-Wildlife Division. MDNR support for the assistantship includes an annual stipend of $20,000, tuition and fees, and university health insurance (total compensation package $33,458 in year 1).

Master’s degree in wildlife, ecology, conservation biology, biology, or related field with an interest in spatial ecology and animal behavior. Demonstrated proficiency in GIS and quantitative ecology. Experience with spatial modeling and RSFs would be advantageous. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is preferred and standard GRE tests (verbal, quantitative, analytical) are desired (the biology subject test is recommended but not necessary). To apply, please electronically submit a CV (that includes names and contact information for 3 references) and letter of interest that summarizes your experience and what you can bring to the project.


Contact Information:

Dr. Robert Montgomery

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