MS Graduate Research Assistantship: Trophic cascades in longleaf pine woodlands

Position: MS Graduate Research Assistantship: Trophic cascades in longleaf pine woodlands.

Location: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA and the Jones Center at Ichauway, Newton, GA

Description: We seek a highly motivated student to fill a MS assistantship in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Field work will be conducted at the Jones Center at Ichauway, a 29,000 acre private preserve in southwest Georgia. Further information can be found on the web site at The successful applicant will investigate trophic cascades from a long-term (~15 year) predator exclosure experiment. Large-scale experimental treatments have increased deer abundance, altered deer behavior, and increased browsing pressure on understory plants.  The goals of this study are to explore and quantify the primary plant community and/or population responses to long-term increases in browsing pressure. Primary response variables of interest may include plant community shifts, plant morphological adaptations, and/or plant physiological changes related to carbon allocation strategies. Opportunities to incorporate the effects of prescribed fire and post-Hurricane Michael disturbance effects may also exist. The work may include both descriptive plant data and additional manipulative components related to herbivory. Supporting data from a long-term deer and predator population monitoring program will be available.

Qualifications: Applicants must hold a BS in Ecology, Biology, Wildlife, or a related field, have a GPA of 3.0 or greater, and competitive GRE scores.

Applicants must be highly motivated, have excellent written and oral communication skills, and be capable of working independently as well as managing a large field team. The successful candidate must be willing to conduct sometimes strenuous physical activity under demanding field conditions (i.e., heat, high humidity, and insects). The most qualified applicants will be integrative thinkers who are interested in testing novel linkages using data from diverse sub-disciplines within ecology and wildlife management. Experience programming in R, or similar language, and conducting community analyses is a plus.  The student will receive a MS in Fish and Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech.

To Apply: Please email a cover letter describing research experience and interests, CV, transcripts, GRE scores, and contact information of three references to both Dr. Michael Cherry ( and Dr. Steven Brantley ( with MS Application in the subject line.

Salary: Competitive stipend, plus tuition and benefits.

Start-Date: May 2019 preferred start at Jones Center with August start date at VT.