Project description: We are seeking a M.S. student to assess occupancy dynamics of rusty patched bumble bees (Bombus affinus) in Iowa. The rusty patched bumble bee is a federally Endangered species that was once widespread across the eastern U.S. and Upper Midwest. While B. affinis is the only species in this region currently protected under the ESA, many other bumble bee species have been documented to be in decline as well, including the American bumble bee, Bombus pensylvanicus. Protection and restoration of critical habitat in the Midwestern region, therefore, may be crucial for threatened species’ recovery, and will also support priorities for conservation of other pollinators, which are important for both crop pollination and reproduction of native plants. This project will use structured surveys of sites throughout Iowa to estimate the effect of local and landscape characteristics on occupancy of B. affinus and B. pensylvanicus. The selected candidate will be co-advised by Dr. Anna Tucker (NREM/Iowa Cooperative Research Unit) and Dr. Amy Toth (EEOB) and will work closely with another student who will be investigating individual-level metrics related to bee health and population resilience. Duties and responsibilities: Fieldwork will include surveying for bee presence at sites across Iowa from May – August 2022 and 2023. The student will have freedom to develop research questions within the scope of the project but is expected to use occupancy modeling to estimate the effects of site characteristics on bee presence. The student will begin fieldwork in May 2022 and enroll in Fall 2022. The student will be supported by a Teaching Assistantship for two semesters and on a Research Assistantship for the remaining semesters. Funding: Salary is approximately $25,000 per year. The student will receive health insurance and a graduate tuition waiver.
To apply: Please email a single .pdf document containing 1) a one-page cover letter describing your background, interest in this position, and career goals; 2) your CV or resume; 3) unofficial transcripts from a US-accredited undergraduate institution; and 4) contact information for three professional references to Dr. Anna Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “RPBB MS Assistantship.” If selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts and three letters of recommendation to the ISU Graduate Admissions Office. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until filled.
B.S. in Wildlife Sciences, Biology, Ecology, or a related field with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The ideal candidate is a respectful and inclusive team member, has interest in developing quantitative skills, and works well both independently and on a team. Preference will be given to candidates with experience conducting field surveys for bees or other pollinators and identifying bees in the field. Previous experience with data management, statistical analysis, R programming, and written or oral presentation of scientific results is helpful but not required. GRE scores are not required. Candidates must have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record.