About the Simler-Williamson lab: conducts research in the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University: We integrate field observational data, manipulative experimental designs, and mathematical modeling approaches to explore: local adaptation of plant populations to pathogens; the epidemiology of emerging infectious plant diseases; and the ecological consequences of interactions between abiotic and biotic disturbances. Our current study systems include coniferous and hardwood forests and sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western U.S. We are passionate about statistical methods in ecology and love thinking about causal inference in observational and experimental study designs. We also seek out opportunities to integrate art into our science research, communication, and teaching.

Dr. Allison Simler-Williamson and Dr. Toby Maxwell in the department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University are seeking an enthusiastic student to carry out Masters research associated with a USDA-funded project examining the community ecology of invasive plants in disturbed ecosystems.

The prospective student will investigate the impacts of invasive plant community composition on the biological legacies that persist following disturbances, and how these legacies (e.g., soil nutrient cycling and microbial communities) influence recovery of native plant populations and their impacts on carbon sequestration.This research involves extensive field work in sagebrush steppe ecosystems, which would be led, in part, by the prospective student.

The prospective student will be co-advised by Dr. Simler-Williamson and Dr. Maxwell. Our labs use a combination of lab, field, and computational approaches from plant population ecology, soil biogeochemistry, microbial/disease ecology, plant ecophysiology, and statistical modeling. The student would have opportunities to gain skills in many or all of these areas, depending on their interests. This research will be conducted in collaboration with researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Boise, ID, and as such, the prospective student would have opportunities to work alongside federal scientists.

Preferred qualifications for this position include:

  • B.S. degree in ecology, biology, environmental science, or a related field.
  • Relevant coursework in ecology, soil science, plant biology, and statistics
  • Past data analysis or programming experience 
  • Past experience coordinating or conducting field research, especially in challenging environmental conditions
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills

If interested, please email Dr. Allison Simler-Williamson (allisonsimlerwil@boisestate.edu) with the following documents: a 1-page cover letter summarizing your interest in the position and how a masters degree in biology will aid your career goals; a CV or resume; and contact details for 2-3 professional references. Please use the subject header: “MS Position – Invasive Species Legacies.”

The Simler-Williamson and Maxwell labs are committed to providing strong mentorship for trainees in a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment. Students will be admitted through the Boise State University Masters in Biology program (January 15, 2023 deadline for application materials), to begin in August 2023. Additional information about the program can be found at: https://www.boisestate.edu/biology/graduate-programs/ms-biology.  Funding may be provided through a combination of research assistantship and teaching assistantship, which includes coverage of tuition and health insurance, with a minimum salary of $25,000/year for two years.

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