Master’s Opportunity at Cal Poly for Pismo clam ecology research

The Ruttenberg Lab and Needles Lab at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (;=20 have funding for a master’s student to work on a project examining Pismo clam population dynamics and potential techniques for restoration, to begin Fall 2017. The student would be based in San Luis Obispo, CA, with some travel required to local field sites, as well as sites throughout California and potentially Baja California, Mexico. More information about the Cal Poly Biology Graduate Program is available here:


The primary goals of the project are to understand the current status, causes of decline, and potential for restoration of Pismo clams (Tivela stultorum) in San Luis Obispo County and throughout the range of the species (Monterey, CA to central Baja California, Mexico). Work will include significant field sampling of adult and juvenile clams, as well as laboratory experiments related to developing methods to spawn and rear clams. There will also be opportunities to explore additional questions of the student=92s interest related to these issues.  Funding for the project includes in-state tuition and all costs related to field work and travel; additional funding for student stipend may be available and opportunities will also be available to obtain support as a teaching assistant/lab instructor in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly.

This is a specific project, and therefore the ideal student would have many/all of the following qualifications:

1.=09Experience conducting shore-based/intertidal fieldwork, including organizing field logistics.

2.=09Experience managing teams of students/assistants.

3.=09Experience with rearing and care of adult and larval molluscs, other invertebrates or fish in an aquarium setting is preferred but not required.

4.=09Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and 150 on each GRE section (higher strongly preferred).

5.=09Experience/skills with statistics and data analysis; experience with software packages such as R strongly preferred but not required.

6.=09Potential availability to initiate fieldwork during summer 2017.

7.=09CA residency advantageous (but not required) since tuition funds only cover in-state tuition (but out-of-state tuition waivers are available for strong candidates)

Interested candidates should email Dr. Benjamin Ruttenberg ( with a *brief* description of qualifications, interest in the Cal Poly MS program, and the project, as well as a short CV (2 pages max), all as a single PDF file (with the title =91LastName_Firstname.pdf=92). Please include GPA, GRE scores, experience with fieldwork, organizing logistics, animal care, data analysis experience and skills, etc, and names and contact info of at least 3 references.

Application deadline for Cal Poly is Feb 1.