Description: An MS assistantship is available in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management as part of a collaboration among the Loss and Fuhlendorf Labs at OSU and the Hovick lab at North Dakota State University. The research focus of this assistantship will include: (1) an assessment of the effects of fire (specifically, the patch-burn grazing management framework, which links fire and grazers to promote grassland heterogeneity) on earthworm communities, including abundance of invasive non-native species, in grasslands of the U.S. Great Plains; and (2) an evaluation of whether abundance and availability of earthworms and other invertebrates is a mechanistic link underlying the use of recently-burned grasslands by long-distance migratory shorebirds like the American Golden Plover. Fieldwork, including invertebrate sampling and migratory shorebird surveys, will be conducted at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (TGPP) in the Flint Hills of northeastern Oklahoma.
This position will begin in March 2022 (first field season conducted in spring 2022), and full funding will be available through May 2024 . Funding will be primarily through research assistantship, but the student will also be expected to TA for at least one academic semester (course TA assignments to be determined, but the student will likely have an opportunity to TA Dr. Loss’s Applied Ecology field course). A stipend of $1,667/month ($20,000/yr) will be provided along with full tuition waiver and health insurance at $20/month.
Qualifications: Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management, Wildlife Ecology/Management, Rangeland Ecology/Management, Ecology, or a related field. The applicant must have a strong work ethic and sense of self-motivation, strong written and oral communication skills including experience communicating with the public during fieldwork, and an ability to work independently and to supervise a research technician in a field setting (past supervisory and/or management experience is highly preferred). Applicants with experience conducting, publishing, and/or presenting mentored undergraduate research, sampling earthworms or other soil invertebrates, and/or conducting bird surveys will be especially competitive. A US driver’s license is required.
To Apply: Send applications to Scott Loss (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 23rd, 2021; applications should consist of a single zip file or merged pdf file that includes: (1) a cover letter outlining how you meet required and preferred qualifications, (2) a CV, (3) unofficial academic transcripts, and (4) contact information for three references. We are committed to fostering an environment where diversity of background and thought is accepted and encouraged, and we encourage all interested people to apply despite preconceived notions of their own experience as it relates to this project’s objectives.
About the Loss, Fuhlendorf, and Hovick labs: Our labs lead and collaborate on a wide range of research projects in natural resource ecology and management, with strong emphases on landscape ecology, biodiversity, wildlife and rangeland ecology and management, and major global change issues like climate change and invasive species. For more information about our labs, see:
Scott Loss’s Lab: https://scottrloss.wixsite.com/losslab
Sam Fuhlendorf’s Lab: https://experts.okstate.edu/sam.fuhlendorf
Torre Hovick’s Lab: https://www.ndsu.edu/snrs/people/faculty/torre_hovick/
About Oklahoma and OSU: Oklahoma is one of the most ecologically diverse states, with ecosystems ranging from forested mountains in the east to mesas and canyons in the west, and including some of the largest remaining tracts of prairies in the world, including the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, the largest remaining protected area of tallgrass prairie. Recreational opportunities abound, with national forests, grasslands, and wildlife refuges all within 2-3 hours of Stillwater, where OSU is located. In addition, Stillwater is 1 hour from both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, which have additional opportunities for recreation, sporting events, music, the arts, restaurants, etc.
OSU is a land-grant institution with an enrollment of ~25,000 students, and it is located on the ancestral lands of the Kickapoo, Osage, Kiowa, and Quapaw peoples. Indigenous people from other Native nations also reside here, many of whom were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. They all contribute to the history and current vitality of our region. The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management is part of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and conducts interdisciplinary research, instruction, and extension education to address the sustainable management and conservation of the wildlife, forest, rangeland, and fishery resources of Oklahoma and beyond. The Department is a source of cutting-edge research, quality instruction, and effective outreach to students, landowners, managers, and public agencies.
Any offer of employment is contingent on the university’s verification of credentials and other information required by law and/or university policies, including but not limited to a criminal background check. Oklahoma State University, as an equal opportunity employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. Oklahoma State University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all individuals and does not discriminate based on race, religion, age, sex, color, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, or veteran status with regard to employment, educational programs and activities, and/or admissions.