Seeking Master’s students in evolutionary ecology

The Eco-Evo Lab at California State University, Northridge invites applications from undergraduates interested in pursuing a Master’s of Science in Biology. In particular, we are seeking a M.S. student to work on an NSF-funded project that examines the limits to strong effects of evolution on contemporary ecological interactions. The student will help to perform selection experiments on microcosms of protozoa consumers and their bacterial prey that live inside of carnivorous pitcher plants. We are examining how dispersal and gene flow may alter the evolution of protozoa traits, and how these effects may cascade down to affect bacterial prey diversity and community structure.
In general, research in our lab focuses on the interface between ecological and evolutionary processes. We address how rapid evolution affects species interactions, such as competition, predation, and mutualism. We are also interested in how interactions among multiple species in natural communities affect selection on traits and evolutionary trajectories.
Research in the lab encompasses a variety of study systems, including (1) microbial communities of protists and bacteria that live inside carnivorous pitcher plants, (2) symbiotic algae associated with coral reef organisms, and (3) invasive plant species in California grasslands. Students are encouraged to develop their own independent research projects. More information is available at
The Eco-Evo lab is committed to fostering diversity in STEM. The student will serve as a mentor and role model to undergraduate students that are underrepresented in the field of ecology. CSUN is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian-American-Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. Women and members of underrepresented groups in ecology are especially encouraged to apply.
Northridge is located in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles and provides access to many different natural habitats. The location is within a short commute of Santa Monica and Hollywood. The Biology program at CSUN has a reputation of turning out excellent Master’s students who often continue on to top-tier Ph.D. programs. CSUN was recently recognized by Nature as one of the top 25 Rising Institutions for Research in North America. Our interactive group combines faculty and students from the Ecology & Evolution program, the Marine Biology program, and the Microbiology program (
Previous research experience and a passion for answering scientific questions will strengthen candidates’ applications. Interested students should contact Casey terHorst ( In your email, please describe your research interests, any previous research experience, and your career goals. Include a CV or resume, if possible. Formal applications to the department are due on February 15, 2019, but interested students should contact me this Fall semester 2018.