The Donovan Lab is interested in understanding how spatio-temporal ecosystem processes and their outcomes shape ecological persistence and recovery in the face of change. Our research spans populations, communities, and ecosystems, combining local field based data with large-scale remotely sensed information to understand multi-scale ecosystem dynamics and how they can be used to advance natural resource management, conservation, and restoration efforts. While we study a number of different natural and anthropogenic disturbances, much of our research is focused on fire dynamics.

Position Description: Fire is a fundamental terrestrial ecosystem process that has shaped landscape structure and function for millions of years. Following over a century of fire suppression in the United States, there are growing efforts to apply prescribed fire for ecosystem restoration and management. However, there is much that western science does not understand about the heterogeneity in fire outcomes that shape the structure and function of ecosystems.

The Donovan lab is seeking a motivated PhD and MSc student interested in studying landscape and fire ecology. The successful candidates will use a combination of field and remotely sensed data to investigate the drivers, characteristics, and ecosystem service value of fire refugia and other heterogenous fire outcomes across multiple scales in southeastern forests to inform forest management. The students will be expected to lead field work, conduct quantitative statistical analyses, present their findings at relevant scientific conferences, complete relevant course work, and publish their findings in the peer-reviewed literature.


The successful candidates will have a BS (MS position) or BS and MS degree (PhD position) in ecology or a related field, a valid driver’s license, experience with R and/or GIS for spatial analysis (or in the case of the MS candidate, a strong willingness to learn), and field work experience. In addition, they will have strong writing, communication, leadership, and organization skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Anticipated Start: Fall 2023

Anticipated Stipends: $23,000-25,000 plus tuition waiver

How to apply:

Please submit a cover letter explaining why you are pursuing a graduate degree and why you believe our lab is the right fit for you, plus a CV, unofficial transcript, and two references to Victoria Donovan at Submit documents as a single PDF file named “[your last name]_PhDfire.pdf” or “[your last name]_MSfire”.

Last Date to Apply: 01/11/2022

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