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PhD Assistantship in Tidal marsh bird ecology and conservation


University of Delaware


Newark, DE


United States

Last Date to Apply:

01 Jun 2017


Graduate Assistantship (PhD) University of Delaware, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology. One GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT position at the PhD level is available starting in the Fall semester 2017. The successful candidate will join the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP www.tidalmarshbirds.org) and will have ample opportunities to collaborate with academics, agencies, and NGO’s throughout the region. The primary focus of this project is to determine the effects of restoration activities in response to Hurricane Sandy on salt marsh resiliency. This is the largest coordinated effort to determine the response of the vegetation and avian communities to different restoration actions in the Northeast. SHARP has extensive salt marsh bird and vegetation data collected at >3000 locations between Virginia and Maine (2011 – 2016) that can be used to develop novel hypotheses regarding the structure of avian communities, patterns in alpha, beta, and functional diversity, and adaptation to tidal wetlands. The candidate will have the opportunity to develop their own research questions using the existing SHARP data as well as newly collected field data. For example, King and Clapper rails occur sympatrically in Delaware tidal wetlands and little is known about their breeding ecology, movements, or extent of hybridization. A local field study designed to estimate King and Clapper rail fecundity, hybridization, and the factors that influence these parameters could be a component of this dissertation. The successful candidate will be expected to work collaboratively with SHARP PI’s, graduate students, and partners to design their novel research questions to advance our understanding of tidal marsh bird ecology and conservation.


This is an exciting opportunity to join an established research program focused on the conservation and ecology of tidal marshes in response to rising sea levels and developing strategies to maintain viable populations of these species during this rapid climate shift. The candidate will have access to the largest tidal marsh bird and vegetation database that can be used to test basic ideas in ecology as well as to develop applied strategies for prioritizing conservation.


This graduate position is funded through both research (3 years of support) and teaching (at least 2 years of support) assistantships (minimum 5 years of support). Therefore, the successful candidate will be a teaching assistant in our department assisting with the following courses: ornithology, conservation biology, mammalogy, and wildlife research techniques. The candidate will be strongly encouraged to garner their own research grants in collaboration with SHARP PI’s.


To be considered for this position you must have a MS degree in wildlife ecology or related field, experience with conducting analyses in R, meeting the minimum University and Departmental admission standards and at least on published manuscript. A 12 - month stipend of $25,000, tuition waiver, and reduced cost health benefits will be provided to the selected candidate. Application review will begin 20 May 2017 and continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Expected start date is 1 September 2017.


To apply please send cover letter, CV, GRE Scores, Transcripts, and contact information for 3 references to Greg Shriver (gshriver@udel.edu).