MS Graduate Research Assistantship in Ecology || Utah State University

The Lake Ecology Laboratory is looking for a curious and driven MS student to join us in beautiful Logan, Utah to explore the ecology and conservation of fishes throughout the Intermountain West.

More than 20% of the world’s freshwater fishes are either extinct or in decline with more than 35% of the freshwater fishes in the United States classified as either imperiled or extinct. In the western United States, invasive species have been recognized as the agent limiting the recovery of 60% of the imperiled fishes. June sucker (shown below) are endemic to Utah Lake, UT (shown above) and are one such imperiled fish species. A recent invasion by an apex predator fish species, northern pike, is raising concerns about the impact of this invasion on June sucker recovery efforts and the future food web structure of this ecosystem. The overarching goal of this study is to determine whether northern pike predation will negatively impact the efforts to restore and protect June sucker. We will evaluate the threat of northern pike predation on the recovery and survival of June sucker in Utah Lake and identify ways, if possible, to mitigate this potential threat.


  • The prospective graduate student will develop their field-based MS thesis within the overall framework of this study. 
  • The student will have opportunities test whether a northern pike invasion influences the restoration of endangered June sucker using descriptive statistics, statistical models, and biological models.


  • The prospective student must have a B.S. degree in ecology, fisheries, biology, or a related field and a minimum of the following: a 3.2 GPA, a combined verbal and analytical GRE scores of 307, and 3 exceptional letters of recommendation. 
  • Diversity candidates are encouraged to apply. 
  • For additional information describing the department, graduate school requirements, faculty, and programs see http://www.cnr.usu.edu/wats/.

Funding and Stipend: A monthly stipend starting at $1300/month will be provided for the two- year duration of the project, with opportunities for tiered raises provided at the time of completion of specific graduate education and research goals. Tuition is paid by the project, and university- student medical insurance is provided with modest student co-pay. Total annual award = $20,000- $25,000/year.

Start date: Negotiable; preferred start date early as April 2015, but applicants unable to start until Fall 2015 will be considered.

Closing: Until filled.

To apply: Please email: 1) letter of interest, 2) CV-resume (including GPA and GRE scores listed), 3) unofficial copies of transcripts, 4) and list of 3 or more references (no letters needed yet) to Jereme Gaeta at jereme.gaeta@usu.edu.

Endangered June sucker; shown with spawning coloration

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