Evaluating Wintering Waterfowl Habitat Use on Wetland Reserves Using an Unmanned Aerial
School of Renewable Natural Resources
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA
Start Date: Fall 2021
Project Description: This project will use an unmanned aerial vehicle and thermal imaging camera to
assess wintering waterfowl habitat use of wetland reserve easements in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. The
goal is to develop best practices for detecting and counting ducks in the bottomland hardwood forests that
characterize this region. This will in turn improve the capacity for land managers to evaluate waterfowl
responses to WRE restoration efforts. There are both substantial field data collection and laboratory data
analysis components to this project.
The student can expect to work long hours in challenging conditions across the MAV geography during fall
and winter. The student will work closely with biologists from Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and the Lower
Mississippi Alluvial Valley Joint Venture on project implementation, and the student is expected to produce
peer-reviewed publications in collaboration with research partners. The student will also have regular
interactions with private landowners and state biologists, and the ability to work efficiently and
diplomatically with others is paramount.
Student stipend is $32,000 per year with full tuition waiver. The student can anticipate ~$4,000 in annoying
annual fees at LSU, which can be partially defrayed with departmental and other scholarships.
Qualifications: Applicants must have a B.S. in wildlife biology/ecology or commensurate experience, and
the LSU requires a 3.0 GPA. Successful applicants typically achieve ~300 combined GRE score with ≥4 in
writing. Applicants with experience operating UAVs and familiarity with image-recognition software will
be particularly competitive. Applicants from groups that are underrepresented in the natural resource
profession are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants must have a clean driving record.
As a single combined .pdf, please send a detailed cover letter, CV (with references), and unofficial
transcripts/GRE scores to:
Dr. Kevin Ringelman
[SUBJECT]: MAV student search
Review of applications will begin immediately, and I anticipate filling this position no later than mid-July.
More information on current projects at LSU can be found at https://faculty.lsu.edu/ringelman/index.php.