MS assistantships in natural resource management or ecological modeling, U Alabama

FW by Andy W


Dr. Paige Ferguson, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama, is seeking MS students to conduct research on fish and wildlife ecology and/or decision making in natural resource management starting in Fall 2016. Applicants should have a background in some or many of the following: ecology, environmental science, GIS, ecological modeling, statistics, computer programming, or stakeholder outreach. Experience in field settings is desired.

Applicants are invited to describe their ideas for ecological modeling and/or natural resource management research, but existing topics for MS thesis research include:

1) Social-ecological research in the Black Belt region of Alabama. The student would identify a natural resource that is important to the ecology and community in the Black Belt. Research would focus on management of the natural resource, integrating stakeholder values, to address natural resource sustainability and community resiliency.

2) Management of longleaf pine in the Oakmulgee District of the Talladega National Forest for Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RWC) conservation. The student would use models and stakeholder input to evaluate different longleaf pine management options for their expected ability to meet RCW conservation goals. Addressing this research question could also involve research into RCW population dynamics and habitat.

3) Modeling the occupancy of southeastern grassland birds. Data are already available from southwest North Carolina. The student would collect data at additional sites and model species-specific occupancy probabilities as a function of anthropogenic and environmental covariates. Model results could assist with grassland management decision making.

To apply, please email Dr. Ferguson (pfferguson) the following:

1. a cover letter describing prior experiences that have prepared you for a MS in Dr. Ferguson’s lab, career goals, and the thesis research topic you would like to pursue (if you are interested in multiple topics, please indicate that),

2. your undergraduate transcript (an unofficial copy is fine),

3. GRE scores,

4. a sample of your scientific writing (for example a lab report), and

5. contact information for 3 references.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until positions are filled.

Available positions come with a full tuition waiver, a good stipend, and health insurance. Funding during the academic year is available as a Graduate Teaching Assistant through the Department of Biological Sciences. A summer stipend and funding for summer field work expenses are available, and additional funds, as needed, will be acquired through internal and external funding sources in close collaboration with Dr. Ferguson. For example, funding for conference presentations is available competitively through the University of Alabama. Fellowships are available for exceptional applicants through the University of Alabama Graduate School.

Additional information is available from the following links:

Dr. Ferguson’s Research:

Department of Biological Sciences:

Graduate School:

University of Alabama:



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