The selected candidate will have the possibility to focus on one of the two projects described below. Combining different elements of these two projects is also possible and encouraged. Candidates from underrepresented groups in wildlife and ecology are strongly encouraged to apply.
Project 1 - Niche partitioning and community assembly in North American Wood Warblers (Parulidae).
The exact contours of this project will depend on the skills and preferences of the candidate. The project will include a comprehensive review of the literature and may also include:
- Avian point counts and ecological fieldwork (e.g., habitat structure and vegetation) to study habitat selection during the breeding season and / or during migration
- An ecomorphological study based on museum specimens and data gathered in the literature
- Phylogenetic comparative analyses to examine the evolution of morphological and ecological traits or the relationship between ecological traits and conservation status.
Project 2 - Using morphology to predict habitat preferences in an endangered reed warbler.
The streaked (or speckled) reed warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus is an East Asian migratory bird species that may be on the brink of extinction. Its distribution and ecology are poorly known, and the breeding range has never been discovered. Knowledge of the species' breeding range and habitat requirements is critical to estimate the remaining population size, understand the threats and ultimately, propose suitable measures of conservation.
The present project aims at using an indirect approach to better understand the species ecology and ultimately, look for its breeding grounds. Since a strong relationship between habitat and morphology has been demonstrated in European reed warblers, we will attempt to establish the same type of relationship in East Asian reed warblers based on Museum specimens (for morphology) and previously gathered data and literature review (for habitat selection). This relationship will then be used to infer the streaked reed warbler's habitat preferences based on its morphology. Other indirect approaches may also be considered, including an attempt to estimate the phylogenetic position of the streaked reed warbler.
Graduate Teaching Assistantship: $13,000 annually, including stipend ($8,000) and tuition ($5,000). Additional funding for salary is contingent upon successful grant application.
- B.S. in wildlife, environmental sciences, or related field.
- Capacity for self-motivation as well as the ability to work cooperatively as part of a group.
- The selected candidate will need to successfully apply to Troy University's Master of Science in Environmental and Biological Science (Thesis).
Specifically for project 1:
- Possession of a valid U.S. driver’s license and experience conducting field work.
- A passion for birds and ornithological science.
- An interest in statistical data analysis, and the desire to become proficient with the software R.
- Experience with morphological measurements in birds.
Specifically for project 1:
- Skills and experience in birdwatching, including the capacity to identify Eastern North American birds by sight and sound.
- Botanical skills, including the capacity to identify plants of Eastern North America in the field.
- Experience with habitat surveys.
HOW TO APPLY?
Please email a single Word document or PDF to Dr. Alban Guillaumet (firstname.lastname@example.org) including:
(i) a letter of interest specifying the project(s) you are interested in (project 1, project 2, or both), as well as your skills and experience relevant for this or these position(s); and
(ii) your CV or resume that includes GPA and contact information for at least two references.
Please title your document “Last Name_First Name_WARBLER_TROY” and include “Warbler project” in the email subject to email@example.com.
The position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been selected.