Undergraduate field research: amphibians and microbes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA.
An NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship is open for an undergraduate student to participate in a project studying Sierra Nevada amphibians affected by a chytrid fungal pathogen, and the role of the skin microbiome in disease resistance. The aim of this research is to understand if symbiotic microbes on the skin of frogs explain why some frog populations are able to co-exist with the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), while other frog populations suffer catastrophic declines. The successful candidate will work closely with a senior researcher to conduct surveys of frog population persistence, pathogen infection status, and symbiotic microbes. This work entails strenuous long-distance hiking, back-packing, handling of sensitive amphibians, and collection of microbial skin swabs. The incumbent will receive experience and training in field ecology, disease ecology, and microbial ecology.
SUPPORT, DATES, LOCATION
This fellowship includes a stipend of $500/week. Housing is provided at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL). Limited funds for travel are available. Dates of the field work are approximately July 15 through August 30. Exact dates to be determined.
QUALIFICATIONS AND ELIGIBILITY
To be considered for this position, you must have have extensive backpacking experience, including backpacking at high elevations (>10,000 feet). Must be able to safely carry a heavy pack long distances over rugged terrain, be comfortable spending days to weeks in the backcountry, working in remote areas often in uncomfortable conditions (e.g., inclement weather, mosquitoes, no access to phone, internet, running water while in the backcountry) and be in excellent physical condition. You must have a strong work ethic and a passion for field research, as well as the sensitivity and attention to detail required for handling fragile amphibians and microbial samples. Must have own backpacking equipment, including broken-in boots, tent, and pack. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in microbial ecology or disease ecology.
You must be an undergraduate student (enrolled in a degree program in biology, ecology, or related field, part-time or full-time, leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree); students graduating in Spring 2018 generally are not eligible. Must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident. Students from underrepresented groups and institutions with limited research opportunities are especially encouraged to apply.
Applications should include the following: current transcripts (unofficial OK), resume, 3 references (include reference’s name, position, affiliation, and context from which he/she knows you), and a statement of interest specifically describing (1) why you are interested in the position; (2) your qualifications, including field research and experience backpacking at high elevations and in remote areas (be specific about when, where, under what conditions you have experience); (3) your professional goals; (4) specify your dates of availability.
Where to send applications:
Send all application materials, PREFERABLY AS A SINGLE PDF FILE, to Andrea Jani (jania-at-hawaii.edu). Name the application file with the applicant’s name. For example: Doe_Jane.pdf.
ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS MUST BE RECEVED BY FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018. Incomplete applications will not be considered.