Funded research technician: Interviewing landowners about wildlife and land values

Dr. Paige Ferguson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama, is seeking a research technician to collect field data during the Summer of 2017. The technician will work in conjunction with a MS student and an undergraduate student.  The duties of this position include interviewing landowners in the Black Belt region of Alabama and transcribing interviews on to computer files. Interview questions will be provided and focus on land management practices, land use history, and values related to land and wildlife. Pay is $4000 for the summer (early June-early/mid August). A field vehicle or fuel reimbursement will be provided.  Housing will be a sublet apartment in Tuscaloosa, and the research technician is responsible for rent.

The Black Belt Region is of great interest ecologically and culturally. Land use change throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have left less than 1% of the native Black Belt prairie. There is evidence that the Black Belt Prairie was historically connected with the Great Plains and may have served as a refugium for Great Plains species during glacial episodes. Several invertebrate species have disjunct distributions, with the Black Belt prairie comprising the eastern boundary of their range. The Black Belt prairie provides important habitat for many species of grassland birds and invertebrates Sites in the Black Belt are also used for recreational hunting of white-tailed deer and quail. The human history of the Black Belt Region is as equally important as the natural history, and both have contributed to current patterns of land use and prairie habitat quality. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, the Black Belt Region was the site of extensive slave-based cotton farming. When cotton farming declined, land was often converted to pasture. In 2014, the poverty rate in the Black Belt Region of Alabama was 30.0%, well above state (19.2%) and national (15.5%) averages. How land is distributed and used may contribute to socio-economic patterns among landowners and to social, political, and economic dynamics in a region.

Applicants who have or are currently pursuing a B.S. degree are preferred. Applicants should have experience in communicating with diverse members of the public. Applicants must have strong communication skills, work ethic, and behave professionally.

To apply, please email Dr. Ferguson (<>) the following:

1. a cover letter describing your interest in the project and prior experiences that have prepared you for the project,

2. CV, and

3. contact information for 3 references.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.