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  • PhD Research Assistantship; Predator-Prey Ecology in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon

    Guest Jeff Manning
    • Employer: Washington State University - Pullman, WA
      Location: Pullman and Idaho/Oregon/Washington Snake River region
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 05/30/2022
      Open Until Filled: No


    $49,000 Graduate Student Stipend per year (25,000 annual stipend + $24,000 annual tuition waiver and benefits) for 4 years.


    Ph.D. Research Assistantship

    Raptors, mesocarnivores, and ground-nesting birds.

    Washington State University and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    This announcement is a re-advertisement, as our research program has shifted towards the effects of raptors and mesocarnivores on the demography of ground-nesting birds. Due to this change, we request that previous applicants who remain interested please reapply.

    In collaboration with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the School of the Environment at Washington State University is seeking a Ph.D. student to conduct research on the effects of raptors, mesocarnivores, and other factors on the demography of mountain quail, a shrubland and forest bird of high conservation concern. The student will be advised by Dr. Jeff Manning at Washington State University, with Dr. Stephanie Simek at WDFW as a committee member. Field work will take place on and around WDFW Wildlife Management Areas, US Forest Lands, and private lands in southeast Washington, west central Idaho, and northeast Oregon. The student will lead a team of 2-3 technicians/interns and collaborate with an M.S. student each season as part of a larger, collaborative WSU and WDFW research program. Fieldwork will involve spot mapping, point counts, and camera trapping of raptors and mesocarnivores, and capturing, tagging, and tracking mountain quail across seasons. A large part of the student’s work will center around testing hypotheses involving the landscape of fear (based on raptor and mesocarnivore information), intra-specific competition, and resources under a hierarchical modeling framework to determine factors that limit mountain quail populations and inform conservation and management strategies.

    This position provides an excellent opportunity for a student interested in predator-prey interactions, avian ecology, behavioral ecology, and spatial ecology to conduct applied field research of high conservation importance. This student will work collaboratively with WDFW biologists and biologists in neighboring states, and is expected to begin classes in Fall 2022 at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. The student would have the option of joining the project as a paid member of the field crew in Summer 2022 to gain familiarity with the ecosystem, study species, and field conditions.

    Washington State University is a Research 1 land-grant institution, with diverse research programs, including those in the School of the Environment. The main campus is located in Pullman, 90 miles south of Spokane, WA in the scenic Palouse Prairie, a rural prairie with rivers, creeks, lakes, dry farming, and rolling hills and mountains that provide many recreational opportunities.

    Support for this project includes 4 years of Research Assistantship. This $49,000 per year assistantship is comprised of ~$25,000 salary per year plus a $24,000 annual tuition waiver and with benefits. Funding for research-related expenses (vehicle, field housing, field supplies, etc.) are also provided.

    Additional information is available here:

    Jeff Manning’s website: https://labs.wsu.edu/manning/

    Washington State University School of the Environment: https://environment.wsu.edu/graduate-studies/

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/oreortyx-pictus


    Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology or related field. Ideal candidates would have demonstrated experience in ornithological research or management, including capture, banding, and nest searching, as well as mark-recapture field sampling and modeling. Familiarity with northwest forest/shrubland systems and ARU technology is desirable but not required.

    To apply, please submit the following materials via email to Dr. Jeff Manning (jeff.manning@wsu.edu): 1) a single pdf that includes a 1-page cover letter career goals and how you meet the qualifications described above, 2) CV/resume, 3) unofficial college transcripts, 4) GRE percentiles (if available), and 5) contact information for 3 references. Specify in the email subject line Mountain Quail PhD application.

    Last date to apply – May 30, 2022.

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