PhD and MS Position in Ecology at Utah State University || Lake Ecology Lab

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

Drought is often a primary effect of climate change and is of particular concern for lakes and reservoirs throughout the western United States. Understanding the effects of drought on lake ecosystems, therefore, is critical. Bear Lake, UT/ID (shown above) holds a unique assemblage of endemic, cold-water fishes including sculpin, cisco, whitefishes, and Bonneville cutthroat trout (picture below) as well as introduced lake trout. Our goal is to understand how drought-induced reductions in lake level alter critical littoral habitat in lakes and reservoirs in the Intermountain West and to test whether changes in littoral habitat influence the cold-water fish community. All of these cold-water species directly or indirectly depend on littoral habitat for spawning or prey production. Ultimately, we want to understand how to better manage these fishes in a changing climate. While this work will expand to other lakes and reservoirs, the research
will initially focus on Bear Lake.


  • The prospective graduate student will develop their field-based thesis within the overall framework of the study. 
  • The student will have opportunities test whether drought-induced changes in lake level influences littoral habitat and, subsequently, fishes and aquatic food webs using descriptive statistics as well as statistical, physical, 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. 
  • Individuals with a MS degree in ecology, fisheries, or related field are encouraged to apply for this position as a PhD candidate. Diversity candidates are also encouraged to apply. For additional information describing the department, graduate school requirements, faculty, and programs
please see http://www.cnr.usu.edu/wats/.

Funding and Stipend: A monthly stipend starting at $1300 - $1700 per month (depending on MS or PhD level) will be provided for the duration of the project (2 years for MS, 4-5 years for PhD), 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-$27,000/year.

Start date: Negotiable; preferred start date as 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

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