The Applied Behavioral Ecology Lab at Michigan State University is seeking qualified applicants for a Ph.D. position to begin August 2023. The scientist selected will work with a collaborative team of behavioral ecologists and engineers to address one of the most significant challenges facing the restoration and management of riverine ecosystems:  How can we reconnect rivers to lakes and oceans without further spreading invasive species?

The focus of this project is to prototype and test a novel selective fish passage device that employs a mix of behavioral and hydraulic cues to selectively guide and remove an invasive fish while allowing desirable fishes to pass. The approach relies on the manipulation of chemical information the invasive species uses to manage predation risk, along with manipulation of environmental conditions (e.g. flow velocity and turbulence), and incorporation of a removal device that targets anguilliform swimming fishes (an eel ladder).

The goal of our lab is to achieve translational science.  The project will integrate hydraulic modeling, movement ecology and fishway engineering, and involves testing in large-scale flumes with live fishes. Excitingly, the final year of the project will include full-scale test of the prototype in near-natural conditions.

Qualifications: Well qualified candidates with have: an M.S. in aquatic or marine ecology, movement ecology, fish ecology, hydraulic engineering, ecohydraulics, or a related field; competitive GPA and GRE scores; a desire to work in collaborative groups with scientists and conservation managers; and experience working with quantitative data. Review of applications will begin on 15 March and continue until a suitable candidate is identified.

To apply: An application should include a CV and statement of research interests and career goals, and identify professional or academic references. Interested parties should contact Dr. Michael Wagner (  to obtain further details. Contact Person: Michael Wagner Contact eMail

Salary: $28,000 stipend + tuition waiver + health benefits

Start Date: 08/15/2023

Last Date to Apply: 04/15/2023


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