PhD positions VCU: Tropical and Temperate Forest Dynamics

The Biodiversity Research Lab (led by Dr. Hulshof) at Virginia Commonwealth University is recruiting two PhD students starting Fall 2020. We study the causes of biodiversity across space and time, especially as it relates to community assembly across elevation, latitude and climate.

We are recruiting two PhD students interested in studying forest communities across elevation. One position will focus on the dynamics of eastern temperate forests and the second position will emphasize montane tropical forests. A few examples of the types of questions we are interested in:

How do the effects of disturbance (bark beetles, flooding, deer overpopulation) on temperate forest structure and composition vary across elevation and latitude?

How does dispersal influence the expansion or contraction of tropical dry and wet forest species ranges at local, regional, and latitudinal scales?

Part of our research group is based in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica and collaboration between temperate and tropical regions is encouraged and supported. Funding is available for travel, field supplies, summer research stipends, and through teaching assistantships during the academic year. Visit our website ( for information about our team, ongoing projects, and work philosophy.

We are an international and diverse group and I encourage underrepresented minorities to contact me. Because we work closely with international partners, Spanish fluency (or willingness to learn basic conversational Spanish) is a strength, but not a requirement.

The Biodiversity Research Lab is located in the Department of Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia. VCU is located on the historic James River within easy reach of the Appalachian Mountains, the Virginia LTER and NEON sites, and other resources in the D.C. area like the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History. Richmond is rated as a top place to live and is known for its history, local food scene, booming job market, and its easy access to outdoor activities like hiking, biking and kayaking.

Students should apply to the PhD Program in Integrative Life Sciences by 10 January.

Those who are interested should contact Dr. Hulshof ( with a CV and description of career/research interests to discuss the position before applying. Please specify if you prefer working in temperate and/or tropical forests.