Graduate student assistantship (Ph.D.) in vegetable-leguminous tree alley cropping systems in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville:

We are looking for a highly motivated Ph.D. student to work on a recently funded USDA-NIFA-SARE project evaluating vegetable crop performance in leguminous tree alley cropping systems. The overarching goal of this project is to establish alley cropping as a viable solution for organic and similarly managed vegetable production systems in the face of climate extremes in the southeastern USA.

As part of the Ph.D. dissertation, the successful candidate will evaluate microclimate [e.g., soil, air, and crop canopy temperature, humidity, soil moisture, crop canopy light (PAR)], crop performance (growth, yield, quality and physiological parameters), vegetable crop mycorrhizal associations, and nutrient (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) cycling effects of leguminous tree alley cropping systems [nodulating black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia), or non-nodulating honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)] compared to open field systems on two model vegetable crops (winter squash and lettuce) at two soil nitrogen fertilization rates on an established alley cropping site in replicated research farm trials.

The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to participate in on-farm studies of alley cropping establishment, and develop additional research questions related to alley cropping system function. This GRA will provide a monthly stipend with both in and out-of-state tuition costs waived. A graduate student health insurance plan is included. Continuity of funding is subject to satisfactory academic and research performance and compliance with established standards of conduct.

Expectation: We expect that a Ph.D. student will publish at least two manuscripts from research studies in refereed journals, present results at scientific society meetings, participate in farmer outreach, and to gain college-level teaching experience (e.g., as a TA) during the course of their studies.

Qualifications: We are looking for a highly motivated student with an academic and research background in Horticulture, Plant Science/Plant Biology, Soil Science, Forestry, or a related field. Preference is for a candidate who can start in summer/fall 2023.

To apply:  If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please contact Dr. David Butler, Contact eMail Last Date to Apply: 05/15/2023

Location: This position is based in the Butler Lab in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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