Graduate Assistantship – Plant Invasions in the Mojave Desert

We seek a highly motivated graduate student to examine the interactions among native and invasive plant species in the Mojave Desert. Invasive annual species, including red brome (Bromus rubens), Mediteranean grass (Schismus barbatos), and Russian thistle (Salsola spp.) have become prevalent in the Mojave Desert. This has severe consequences for native wildlife habitat, including the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), as well as rare plant species (ex. white-margined penstemon – Penstemon albomarginatus). The Bureau of Land Management is interested in investigating the effects of rehabilitation treatments (herbicide, seeding, etc.) on native and rare plant species, as well as desert tortoise habitat. Research questions will focus on plant-plant, plant-soil, and plant-animal interactions. Research will be in conjunction with the Las Vegas office of the Bureau of Land Management.

Funding: The competitive stipend for the research assistantship is $19,200 per year for four years, which includes a tuition and fee waiver. PhD candidates are preferred although MS students may be considered.

*       BS degree in biology, ecology, or related field
*       Field experience and coursework in plant and soil ecology
*       Desire to interact with land managers and help improve land management decisions
*       Previous research experience with good experimental and field skills
*       Strong verbal and written communication skills
*       Evidence of statistical knowledge, laboratory analytic skills, and ability to publish
research results in refereed journals is highly desired.

Personal Qualifications: The candidate should be self-motivated, focused, and able to work independently and as part of a team. You should be capable of driving to remote sites on 4WD roads, hiking several kilometers, withstanding harsh field conditions, and willing to camp in primitive areas with no facilities. Fieldwork will be located outside of Las Vegas, NV.

How to Apply: Please email the following to Beth Newingham at (1) your resume or CV (including GRE scores and percentiles); (2) a letter of interest, including research interests, professional goals and prior experience, and (3) contact information for three references.

Further questions can be directed to Dr. Newingham at The student would be a UNR student although housed with the USDA Agricultural Research Service on campus. Information about the University of Nevada, Reno’s graduate programs in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science department can be found at Information about the Newingham Lab can be found at

Applications will be considered starting immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The preferred start date is November or December 2018 as a technician to assure sampling for the spring and summer of 2019. Student status may start when appropriate.