Pennsylvania forests face many challenges – invasive plants, insect outbreaks, soil acidity, tree diseases, and even deer. This study is being conducted to better understand the role of deer in the context of all these challenges and to help Pennsylvania’s forest and wildlife managers better manage deer and the forest.
This research is a collaboration among the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at The Pennsylvania State University.
Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecology: The Deer-Forest Study is long-term research investigating the role of deer herbivory, soils, and competing vegetation on forest plant communities. Four study areas in central and northern Pennsylvania have been monitored since 2013 with deer population surveys, deer fitted with GPS collars, hunter surveys, and permanent vegetation plots. In addition, deer harvest regulations were implemented to reduce deer densities on two study areas.
We are seeking a student to develop an integrated population model using population surveys, harvest statistics, and population vital rates (survival, recruitment). These population estimates can then be linked to vegetation data and hunter surveys to address questions related to how forest vegetation and hunters respond to changes in harvest regulations and deer densities.
Preferred candidate will have a M.S. degree and strong quantitative skills with knowledge of standard mark-recapture methods, and experience with Baysian modeling techniques. Field experience is not necessary but there will be opportunities to trap deer and participate in other fieldwork. Applications will be reviewed as received.