Wyoming toad PhD assistantship – deadline extended (Dec. 12)

PhD Graduate Assistantship available to work with Dr. Melanie Murphy (Department of Ecosystem Science and Management/Program in Ecology), Dr. Annika Walters (Department of Zoology and Physiology/Program in Ecology) and Dr. Anna Chalfoun (Department of Zoology and Physiology/Program in Ecology) at University of Wyoming in collaboration with Dr. Doug Keinath (Wyoming Ecological Services, USFWS).

The Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri) is one of the most endangered amphibians in North America, which rapidly declined in the 1970s due to unknown causes. This narrow-range endemic was listed under the ESA in 1984 and is now considered extinct in the wild. In the early 1990s, managers collected the remaining individuals to establish a captive breeding program. A small population at Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge sustained by captive-release is now one of the only known, non-captive populations of Wyoming toads. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently improved captive facilities to allow regular release of adult Wyoming toads into the wild in order to foster increased reproduction and survival. This resulted in notable increases in reproduction, as evidenced by regular wild breeding, but changes in survival are questionable because the released animals are being observed less frequently than expected. Since all released toads are uniquely identified, tracking these animals offers a unique opportunity to collect longitudinal information on: 1) individual survival, 2) individual behavior and habitat selection, 3) individual health status (e.g., Chytrid fungus (Bd) infection rate), and 4) how survival, behavior and health status relate to genotype.
Prospective students with a background in wildlife, natural resources, ecology, and/or population genetics are encouraged to apply. Evidence of robust analytical skills, ability to work independently under stochastic field conditions, strong work ethic, scientific writing, passion for scientific inquiry, and aptitude for collaborative research are expected.  Additional skills in radio-tracking anuran species and population genetics laboratory skills (particularly using low quality/low quantity DNA) will be preferred.  Work will require animal care, hiking, working in harsh field conditions at high elevation, working in wetlands and driving a 4WD vehicle.  To apply, please send a statement of interest, complete CV, unofficial transcripts, unofficial GRE scores, and contact information for three professional references as a single PDF file (LastName_WyomingToad.pdf) to melanie.murphy@uwyo.edu.   Application deadline is December 12, 2018, although review of applicants will begin immediately.  Start date could be as early as January 28, 2019, but is flexible for the right candidate.  However, candidate must be available for field season preparations with field season to start mid-May.

Area and Institution: University of Wyoming (https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=www.uwyo.edu&data=02%7C01%7Cmiranda.l.davis%40uconn.edu%7Cec056b07929d4319d77408d65f64ca77%7C17f1a87e2a254eaab9df9d439034b080%7C0%7C0%7C636801283837127151&sdata=W%2F8bTb%2BxnPFe0e4EohhzRhPE3HyhvHgW%2F%2BS7qt%2Fvgdc%3D&reserved=0) is ideally located in Laramie, Wyoming with easy access to varied field sites and outdoor recreation opportunities. In addition, the campus is only 1 hour from Fort Collins and ~2 hours from an international airport (Denver, CO).  Applicants are encouraged to investigate the Program in Ecology (https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=www.uwyo.edu%2Fpie&data=02%7C01%7Cmiranda.l.davis%40uconn.edu%7Cec056b07929d4319d77408d65f64ca77%7C17f1a87e2a254eaab9df9d439034b080%7C0%7C0%7C636801283837127151&sdata=ghE1sPaD4MJUDiw%2BD7uyyFlPXuoU89mrkIsZ%2Bc%2F9omI%3D&reserved=0), an integrated, interdepartmental PhD program in ecological science.