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PhD Position in Plant-Soil Feedback

Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry is pleased to announce a graduate research assistantship to support a PhD student in conducting research in Forest Resource Ecology. The successful candidate will be involved in a USDA AFRI grant project “Oak Success Under Pine: Using Underlying Mechanisms to Develop Novel Silvicultural Practices in the Lake States Region,” conducting field and lab work to investigate oak seedling success under red pine plantation. This will include investigating biotic and abiotic plant-soil feedbacks under oak and red pine canopies, focusing on the interaction between oak seedlings and root and soil microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi and pathogens. The assistantship is available for Summer 2022 (can work prior to enrollment) with formal Fall 2022 enrollment. Funding for tuition, health and stipend is available for three years.

The candidate should have:

Undergraduate degree in Forest Ecology or related field
Previously attained and maintained exceptional academic standing
A GRE score
A TOEFL score of 84 iBT or higher (required for students with non-English credentials only)
Experience in report-writing or drafting research articles
A self-motivated, well organized nature, adaptive to collaborative work
A valid driver’s license

Preference will be given to applicants with:

MS degree in Forest Ecology or related field
Experience with modern high-throughput metagenomics for soil and root microbiomes
Experience with running experiments and advanced statistical analyses
Peer-reviewed publications
Additionally, candidates must meet the minimum requirements outlined by Michigan State University’s Graduate program, found here: https://grad.msu.edu/

The successful candidate will be supported for three years. Assistantships include:

A bi-weekly stipend, determined by prior experience and education levels (first year stipend will be approximately $27,000 without MS and $30,000 with MS)
A tuition waiver of up to nine credits per semester fall and spring and five credits during the summer with an out-of-state tuition waiver for students who take more than the covered number of credits each semester
Enrollment in the University’s graduate health insurance plan
Sources of graduate funding in addition to this assistantship are available through national and MSU programs. Students will be encouraged and assisted in seeking this funding.

To apply, please send a one-page cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information of three referees by email as a single pdf file to Dr. Aki Koyama at [email protected]. Current MSU students and recent graduates may also apply via Handshake by searching for Posting #6460534. To be accepted into the graduate program, potential students must also apply through the MSU Graduate School at https://grad.msu.edu/apply. When applying, please indicate an interest in the Forest Ecology Graduate Assistantship in the required Statement of Interests. Applications must be completed by June 1, 2022 for Fall 2022


Please visit http://www.for.msu.edu/graduate/important_information_for_graduate_applicants for specific information regarding the Forestry graduate program.

Michigan State University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. The Department of Forestry is committed to promoting diversity in research. Members of underrepresented groups in STEM fields are highly encouraged to apply. We thank all applicants, but only those selected will be contacted.


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