The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University (MSU) invites applications for a M.S. graduate student research assistant to develop a thesis on Surveying Walleye populations in eastern Mississippi streams using eDNA.

The selected graduate student will work closely with MSU faculty Drs. J. Wesley Neal, Michael W. Sandel, and Peter J. Allen, and with biologists from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Duties: The successful applicant will be primarily involved in research and is expected to lead the research project with the assistance of faculty and staff. This research represents Phase 1 of the overall research plan. In Phase 1, we will sample all major tributaries to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway from Lauderdale, Mississippi to Bay Springs Reservoir. On larger rivers, up to four longitudinally separated access points will be sampled to inform spatial Walleye presence/absence within river reaches.

At each sampling site, water samples will be collected to be used for DNA extraction, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis. These samples will be used to identify stream reaches with detectable Walleye DNA using established primers. Results will be plotted in Arc GIS to provide a map for targeted sampling efforts (Phase 2).

Starting date: August 16, 2023 (Negotiable).


  B.S. degree in ecology, natural resources, or a related field is required. Experience in field work, boat operation, navigation, water sampling, genetic techniques, GIS, and R programming skills are highly desirable. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required.

For non-native English speakers, a TOEFL score of 550 PBT or 79 iBT (Internet-Based Test) or an IELTS score of 6.5 (International English Language Testing System) is required. GRE scores are required.

Salary: Limited to 3 years. Annual funding includes a US$18,000 stipend, $13,000 tuition remission, and $1,700 health insurance.

Review of applications: April 30, 2023. Open until filled. Apply with a single PDF, including a cover letter stating your interest and qualifications, curriculum vitae with contact information for three references, undergraduate transcripts (unofficial are fine), TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable), and GRE scores to: Dr. J. Wesley Neal (


Last Date to Apply: 05/31/2023

Contact Person: Dr. J. Wesley Neal, Contact Phone:  (662) 325- 8363. Contact eMail:

Leave a Reply