Graduate Assistantships in Urban Ecosystems, Soil Quality, Ecosystem Services – University of Maryland

FW by Andy Wilson

PhD or MS student assistantships are available to work in Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman’s lab at the University of Maryland
( in urban ecosystem ecology. 2 projects are available:

(1) Using innovative practices to enhance soil quality for vacant lot afforestation
This is a fellowship supported by the TREE Fund to conduct field trials comparing biochar, compost, and cover crops (forage radish) to improve soil quality and facilitate the establishment of trees in vacant lots in Baltimore. Students will help conduct a literature review on urban soil amendments, implement the field study, and examine soil properties (physical, chemical, biological), plant performance, and ecosystem service indices. Strong experience in soil science, soil ecology, or biogeochemistry is expected. This would ideally be for a PhD applicant, but MS students are welcome to apply as well – students would ideally start in Summer 2017 (or January 2017 for motivated and qualified applicants).

(2) Exploring the ecosystem services of green infrastructure and urban ecosystems.
In this project students can explore a variety of green infrastructure types (rain gardens, bioretention cells, green roofs, etc.) and explore drivers of ecosystem service provision. Students would develop field and lab research projects focusing on abiotic and biotic drivers of ecosystem function in urban environments, with a particular emphasis on linking soil quality, urban hydrology, and ecosystem services. There is the potential to also address social-ecological questions related to management and decision-making for these systems as well. Students would start in Fall 2017 (potentially summer 2017).

Applicants should have a degree in ecology, environmental science, soil science, or closely related field (an MS degree is required for the PhD program). Lab and/or field experience in soils, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem ecology is required. Experience with sensors and data loggers, ecosystem service assessment, GIS, statistical analysis, or remote sensing would be an advantage. Successful applicants will be self-motivated and able to work well in teams.

The students would be enrolled in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland. See program websites for more information on application and program details ( and Assistantships include a tuition waiver, stipend, and health benefits.

To apply, please contact Dr. Pavao-Zuckerman (, indicate which project you are interested in, and include your CV, unofficial transcript(s) & GRE scores, and a short statement (1-2 paragraphs) describing research interests and career goals.


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