PhD opportunity at UW Seattle: Interactions among large and small carnivores

Subject: PhD opportunity at UW Seattle: Interactions among large and small carnivores

A PhD position is available in the Prugh lab at the University of Washington to work on an NSF-funded study examining interactions among large carnivores and mesocarnivores in northern Washington. Wolves and cougars may affect mesocarnivores negatively through killing and aggression, as well as positively by providing carrion food subsidies.
The broad goal of this project is to quantify these positive and negative interactions in an integrative framework. This study is part of a large collaborative multi-predator, multi-prey study that began in 2017. The student will work closely with other PhD students, professors (Aaron Wirsing and Beth Gardner), and biologists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The student will join a diverse research lab in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (

Although the broad goals for this study have been determined, there is considerable flexibility in terms of specific questions that could be addressed. The project will require intensive year-round fieldwork, involving capture and GPS collaring of coyotes and bobcats, scat collection (for fecal genotyping and diet), stable isotope analysis, small mammal trapping, and monitoring scavenging at ungulate carcasses using cameras. A variety of quantitative approaches could be used to analyze the data (e.g., spatial CMR, movement, behavior, demography).
Collaborators are collaring cougars, wolves, elk, mule deer, and white tailed deer in the same area, providing the opportunity to examine species interactions in unprecedented detail.

Grant support for this project includes 3 years of year-round stipend and tuition, and additional fellowship and teaching assistantship opportunities are available. The student would ideally be available to lead field efforts this summer starting in May or June and begin classes in Fall 2018.

An MS degree, strong academic record, and previous fieldwork experience is required. The student must work well on a large, collaborative team and be able to manage a complex field project with winter and summer fieldwork. Strong quantitative skills and a record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals are highly desirable. In exceptional cases, applicants without MS degrees may be considered. To be considered for this opportunity, please send a cover letter outlining your research interests and qualifications, a CV, unofficial copies of your transcripts, and contact information for 3 references as a single PDF document to Laura Prugh ( To ensure full consideration, submit your materials by April 15, 2018. Be sure to include your undergraduate GPA and GRE percentiles (NOT raw scores) in your materials.