Ph.D. Research Assistantship - Weddell seal population dynam

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Ph.D. Research Assistantship - Weddell seal population dynam

Postby Rotella » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:39 pm

We expect to have a Ph.D. Research Assistantship available within the Ecology Department, Montana State University (MSU) to work closely with Jay Rotella and Robert Garrott to analyze long-term mark-resight data and/or body mass data for Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in Erebus Bay, Antarctica beginning in August 2017. The Erebus Bay population of Weddell seals provides an ideal study population as large numbers of known-age animals have been uniquely marked and resighted since 1969. Currently, approximately more than 80% of the seals in the population are marked, and over 80% of marked animals are of known age. Each year, 300–600 pups are born at colonies in Erebus Bay and all are marked. Most females surviving to reproductive age return to breed in Erebus Bay. Encounter histories are available for >5,000 known-age females that were born within the study area from 1979 through 2016. We also have body mass data for hundreds of mother-pup pairs. Much is known about population size, reproductive patterns, and survival rates in the population. The graduate student will (1) be involved in field work and (2) use the existing database to investigate factors influencing the population’s dynamics. The student will be expected to participate as a team member in 2017. If the student’s performance is excellent, the student will work with Rotella and Garrott to develop a dissertation plan and be expected to lead a 6-person field team in Antarctica for 10 weeks each year (Oct to mid Dec) for 3 additional seasons.

More on the long-term project is available at our local web site for the project and our broader outreach site, which can be viewed at:

M.S. in wildlife biology, conservation biology, ecology, natural resource management, or related field. Quantitative skills in demographic parameter estimation and modeling. Skill in communicating scientific results in peer-reviewed literature. Strong work ethic and demonstrated ability to lead and successfully conduct field research in challenging winter conditions.

Experience with: mark-recapture modeling and associated software packages, statistical analysis, marine mammals, large databases, field logistics, and winter field work. Knowledge of theoretical and applied population ecology.

STIPEND: $18,000 per year ($1,500 per month). All travel, room, & board expenses covered for field work.

Prospective candidates should mail (1) a cover letter; (2) curriculum vitae; (3) copy of transcripts & GRE scores (official copies not necessary at this time); (4) examples of your work (e.g., journal articles or submissions); and (5) the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of at least three individuals who have first-hand knowledge of your research experience and professional abilities to Jay Rotella

Dr. Jay Rotella
Ecology Department
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

We will begin reviewing applications on 04/17/2017 and continue to accept applications until the position is filled.
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