About the Position
We are seeking qualified applicants for a PhD position that will focus on migration ecology of American woodcock. As a component of their dissertation research, the student will coordinate a large-scale collaborative research project that seeks to better understand woodcock migration throughout eastern North America. Our project uses GPS transmitters to collect data on individual woodcock during both fall and spring migratory periods, and involves working with a diverse array of project partners that include state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other universities.
As a member of this collaborative team, the successful applicant will be responsible for capturing and tagging woodcock prior to migration, retrieving location data and managing large databases, regularly communicating progress with project partners and other stakeholder groups, analyzing data, presenting results at meetings and conferences, and publishing research findings. More information on the project, including examples of data collected so far, is available on the project web page, woodcockmigration.org.
Our project is currently in its fifth year of data collection, and the successful applicant will have access to GPS location data collected from ~500 marked individuals, which have collected more than 28,000 locations from throughout North America to date. In addition to GPS-tracking data, information on genetic/genomic signatures and feather stable isotopes may be available to incorporate in the student’s research. While the specific directions for dissertation research are open to the student’s interests, we anticipate that topic areas may include evaluating the prevalence of variable migration strategies among migrant woodcock, identifying important migration corridors, linking space use and habitat to mortality risk, or the role of anthropogenic land uses in affecting woodcock populations. We anticipate a final dissertation comprised of 4 chapters suitable for submission to peer-reviewed journals, as we as the opportunity to contribute as a coauthor on other manuscripts completed as part of the research collaborative.
Required Qualifications: We seek applicants with a keen interest in the natural world, a strong work ethic, and a desire to be an engaged member of research labs with like-minded colleagues. Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from a Wildlife Ecology, Biology, Natural Resource, or related program are required. Applicants should have a GPA >3.0, as well as strong oral and written communication skills and evidence of progress in publishing work from the M.S. degree. Inclusion of GRE scores in application materials is welcome, but not required. Previous relevant field experience, demonstrated aptitude for quantitative analyses, a commitment to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in wildlife science, and strong recommendations are required. Ability to work collaboratively and to supervise field assistants is also required. Must possess a valid driver’s license.
Desired Qualifications: Preference will be given to applicants with experience or demonstrated interest in avian migration, animal population ecology, and quantitative methods. Previous experience with avian capture and handling is highly desired. Prior experience or exposure through coursework with the following quantitative skills: GIS, capture-mark-recapture, spatial analysis, regression, population modelling, and maximum likelihood and/or Bayesian estimation methods. Experience using R for data management, analysis, and presentation of results. A record of effective communication, as evidenced by presentations at professional conferences and participation in collaborative research teams.
To apply please submit the following materials:
A cover letter describing your qualifications for the position, a current CV including graduate/undergraduate GPA, contact information for at least three professional references, and a writing sample (master’s thesis or published manuscript).
A single merged pdf is preferred; the writing sample may be submitted separately.
Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and should be submitted by 1 April 2022 for full consideration. The successful candidate must be available to start August 29, 2022.