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PhD position at the University of Wyoming

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One PhD position is available starting Fall 2022 in the Grassland Ecology Lab of Dr. Kevin Wilcox at the University of Wyoming. Our group focuses on a wide variety of topics, such as global change impacts on plant communities and ecosystems, scaling ecosystem stability from local to regional levels, using process-based modeling to assess how plant communities and ecosystems may respond over the coming decades, and investigating interactions between climate change and herbivory in North American grasslands and in South African savanna. See the lab website for more details (https://kevinwilcox.weebly.com/).

Position description:

PhD position – Plant biodiversity and global change in South African savanna ecosystems

Application close date: Friday, January 28th, 2022
Location: University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
Start date: August, 2022

Research focus: This position is part of an NSF-funded project assessing how diversity of plant traits at the population and community level provide stability under multiple concurrent global change extremes – extreme fire, grazing, and drought. The PhD student will be responsible for helping set up experimental infrastructure and take a variety of ecological measurements near the Satara rest camp in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Additionally, the student will work with a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Wyoming to incorporate field data into process-based models for use at the experimental site. The student will be based at the University of Wyoming and will also collaborate with scientists and other graduate students from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, St. Edwards University, and the South African Environmental Observation Network.

Location(s): The University of Wyoming is a land grant institution within the city of Laramie, WY. Laramie is nestled between the Medicine Bow and Laramie Mountains with lots of nearby outdoor activities, including wonderful summer and winter recreation (e.g., snowshoeing, cross country skiing, rock climbing, fishing, hiking). The university supports ~12K students, and has a strong PhD program in ecology (http://www.uwyo.edu/pie/).

Kruger National Park is a 2 million hectare natural savanna ecosystem in the north eastern section of South Africa that supports a diverse assemblage of flora and wildlife, including lions, leopards, zebra, giraffe, elephants, and kudu (and many others). During their research, the student will be located in the Satara rest camp in the national park and will work in the Experimental Burn Plots (EBPs). The EBPs were initiated in Kruger in 1954 to examine the effects of fire frequency on vegetation, and our research group has been studying various dynamics in these plots for almost two decades. The student will conduct approximately 2-3 months of field work in Kruger each year, so willingness to travel and work at a relatively remote field site is required.

Desired qualifications include:
• BS and/or MS degree in biological sciences
• Broad understanding of plant ecology
• Experience conducting field research
• Willingness to travel internationally and to conduct research at relatively remote field sites
• Strong work ethic
• Insatiable curiosity about the natural world
• Willingness to learn new techniques and skills

How to apply: Underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, please submit an application package as a single PDF to [email protected] with the position title in the subject line: Biodiversity and Global Change: PhD Application. For full consideration, please send your application as a single PDF by January 28th, at 5 pm MST. The application package PDF must include:

1. A two-page letter outlining your research interests, training, and why you are interested in this position
2. Curriculum vitae
3. Contact information (email and phone numbers) for two academic or professional references


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