PhD Research Assistantship – Evolutionary Ecology

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University is seeking candidates for a graduate assistantship (Ph.D.) in Wildlife Ecology and Management to take the lead on a comprehensive research project examining evolutionary ecology of a large mammal.  The research will be conducted at the Auburn University deer research facility and will examine the evolutionary aspects of reproduction using white-tailed deer as a model.  Working as part of a research team, the selected student will develop a research focus using data (physical characteristics, genetics, blood profiles, parasite loads, hormone levels, etc.) collected over the past 10 years from over 500 individual animals.  During this time period, we have determined parentage assignments for over 400 of these individuals.  These data, as well as an additional 3 years of data collected by the research team while the student is at Auburn, will be available to the student.  The Auburn deer research facility (, which is a 430-acre laboratory setting that simulates a free-ranging population of white- tailed deer, has approximately 100 individual adult deer that inhabit the facility at any given time.  The selected candidate will be able to develop a research focus in areas including, but not limited to, relationships among breeding patterns, fitness, the MHC, physical characteristics, parasite loads, and hormone levels.  Responsibilities of the selected candidate will be to spearhead continued data collection in the field (e.g., capture of deer and collection of samples), and to enhance the database that has already been developed for the population.

The position will be available beginning May 2018.  The candidate selected for this position will also serve as the writing TA for the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.  As the writing TA, the candidate will assist undergraduate and graduate students with development of their writing skills.  This responsibility is not to be confused with proofreading writing and telling them what needs to be corrected.  Rather, Auburn University has implemented a complex writing assistance center on campus, and this position serves as the liaison for students in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.  The selected candidate will be trained by the AU Writing Center, and will normally work with students 8-13 hours/week by appointment.  To satisfy the assistantship during the summer semester, the candidate will work with Forestry and Wildlife undergraduate students on their writing for approximately 4 weeks during May-June each summer at our remote campus (The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center).  The assistantship includes a $19,180 salary, a full tuition waiver, and comes with its own office.
Additionally, highly quality candidates may be considered for an AU Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship, which lasts for 3 years and comes with an annual stipend of $30,000.  If the student is awarded this fellowship, they will still be expected to meet their writing TA responsibilities.

Applicants should possess an M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology or related field, a strong work ethic, and field and/or lab experience.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but the hope is to make a decision by early February.  Interested applicants should send a cover letter outlining their qualifications for the project, copies of transcripts and GRE scores, and contact information for at least 3 references to Dr. Steve Ditchkoff, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, 3301 Forestry and Wildlife Building, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849. Phone – (334) 844-9240: E-mail –  Application materials can be sent by e-mail.