PhD positions in plant evolutionary ecology at Virginia Tech

The Whitehead Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech

is looking for motivated and independent graduate students to join the lab

in Fall 2018. We study the ecology and evolution of plant interactions

using a combination of field observational studies, experiments, lab work,

and quantitative synthesis. General themes in the lab include:

1) Plant evolutionary responses to multispecies interactions

2) Chemical ecology of seed dispersal and fruit defense

3) Phytochemical diversity and multispecies interactions

4) Crop domestication impacts on plant defense and plant-insect interaction=


5) Agricultural applications of chemical ecology

I will work closely with students to develop their own projects that are

related to these themes. Students may work in systems that are the current

focus of research in the lab (e.g. tropical Piper plants and frugivorous

bats; wild and domesticated apples and their insect herbivores, Physalis

plants and their insect herbivores) or develop their own systems that are

most suited to their research questions.

Please see the lab website ( for more

information about our current research.

The Whitehead Lab is part of the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

<> group in the Department of

Biological Sciences. Students may also participate in interdepartmental

programs such as the Interfaces of Global Change

<> ( program

and the Translational Plant Sciences

<> (https:// program.


Successful applicants should have: 1) a bachelor=E2=80=99s degree in a rele=


field (biology, ecology, botany, entomology, etc.); 2) strong written and

oral communication skills; 3) some form of past research experience (could

include undergraduate research, work experience, or MS research for PhD

applicants); and 4) a genuine fascination with the natural world.

International students and students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged

to apply. Other general qualifications are set by the Department of

Biological Sciences and details are available in the Graduate Program

section on the department webpage (


Students will be supported with a combination of research and teaching

assistantships in the Department of Biological Sciences. All positions will

include a stipend and a tuition waiver. Students are also encouraged to

apply for external fellowships such as the National Science Foundation

Pre-doctoral Fellowship ( or the USDA Pre-doctoral

Fellowships (


Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, VA, a town of about 43,000 nestled

between the scenic Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Its proximity to

woodlands, lakes, streams, and other diverse habitats make it an ideal

location for field studies and outdoor recreational activities.

*To apply*

First, please take the time to read through the information available on

our website ( and a few of our publications. If

you find you are genuinely interested in the type of research that we do,

send me an email at that briefly describes your

background and interests and why you think you are a good fit for the lab

and include a CV. Review of these materials will begin immediately and

priority will be given to students that contact me with this information by

Nov. 1. This will give us time to discuss research interests prior to the

priority deadline for the Department of Biological Sciences on Dec. 15.

Please see the department website ( for more

details on the application process