Graduate assistantship in entomology & prairie habitats

Dr. Paige Ferguson, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama, is seeking a PhD or MS student to begin in Spring 2017, Summer 2017, or Fall 2018.

Research will focus on land use in the Black Belt prairie of Alabama and how it relates to the occurrence of beetle and moth species. The student will conduct field work at prairie sites in the Black Belt and will conduct analyses with statistical models. Anticipated results include information about the distribution of beetle and moth species and quantified relationships between land use characteristics at multiple spatial scales and species occupancy probabilities.

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. Several beetle and moth species are endemic to Black Belt prairies or have disjunct distributions including the Midwestern prairies and Black Belt prairies. Both the natural history and human history of the Black Belt Region 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. How land is distributed and used contributes to ecosystem health, socio-economic patterns among landowners, and social, political, and economic dynamics in the region.

Applicants should have a background in many of the following: ecology, environmental science, entomology, GIS, ecological modeling, statistics, computer programming, stakeholder outreach, and field work. Applicants should be highly motivated and prepared to conduct independent field and modeling research.

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 graduate work in Dr. Ferguson’s lab

2. your undergraduate transcript (an unofficial copy is fine),

3. GRE scores,

4. a sample of your scientific writing (for example a manuscript or lab report), and

5. contact information for 3 references.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until positions are filled.

The position comes with a full tuition waiver, a competitive 12 month stipend, and health insurance. Funding is available as a Graduate Teaching Assistant through the Department of Biological Sciences. Highly qualified applicants may be considered for Graduate School Fellowships, which offer a Research Assistantship during the student’s first year. Funding for summer field work expenses and conference attendance are available.

Additional information is available from the following links:

Dr. Ferguson’s Research:

Department of Biological Sciences:

Graduate School:<>

University of Alabama:<>


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