The Elmore Lab at Clemson University is seeking to recruit a PhD student to join the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation (FEC) under the Wildlife and Fisheries Biology PhD program to start by January 2024. This position will focus on applied ecology and conservation issues pertaining to grassland birds (e.g., Northern Bobwhite, Henslow’s Sparrow, Bachman’s Sparrow, etc) and grasslands.

One component of the project will leverage an existing dataset to evaluate grassland bird response to land cover (habitat) and management activities. The candidate may also pursue field work monitoring grassland birds using autonomous recording units or using drone technology to quantify and map drivers of spatial distributions of grassland birds, including vegetation cover and structure.

Additionally, candidates may begin to address socioeconomic drivers and the human dimensions of grassland bird conservation. Students will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions around these or other topics and shape their dissertation to their interest.

 The successful applicant will have many opportunities to collaborate and work with faculty and graduate students in FEC and other departments at Clemson University, multiple state and federal government agencies, members and committees from the National Bobwhite and Grassland Initiative and other university and NGO partners.

The position includes a tuition waiver and a 12-month stipend at $25,000 per year. Funding is guaranteed for the first 3 years and there will be support in securing funds for subsequent years through internal or external opportunities (e.g., teaching assistantship, grants, fellowships, etc.). The position also includes a university computer, funding for professional travel (e.g., conferences and training), and publication costs for peer reviewed publications.

 Clemson University is a public land-grant Carnegie R1 Research University in a college town setting, on Lake Hartwell, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is about 2 hours from Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC, and about 45 minutes from Greenville, SC. Clemson is bound on the north and south by the 17,500-acre Clemson Experimental Forest and the west by Lake Hartwell.

The FEC is home of the South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The Baruch institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, and several other research and education centers around the state. This position is not possible for remote work as students must take on-campus classes, and there currently are not resources to support international applicants.

The Elmore Lab and FEC at Clemson University desires to create a diverse community that welcomes people regardless of race, culture, age, gender, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic level, political perspective, physical ability, opinion, value, or experience. We value and believe that each member of our team enriches our research experience by contributing to the understanding and engagement of science while being included and respected.

We also recognize that effective mentorship is an important influence for student outcomes, experiences, completion, satisfaction, and ultimately success. We expect a mutual exchange, mentor-mentee relationship founded in respect, personal rigorous goals to be set, and we do everything in our ability to achieve those as a team.


Applicants must have a MS degree in wildlife ecology, natural resources, environmental science, geography (gis), human dimensions, or a related field. The desire to publish peer-reviewed scientific articles is required, and ideal applicants will have evidence of both written and oral communication skills. Applicants need advanced modeling and computational skills, including proficiency in R and ArcGIS (although demonstrating a desire to learn these skills will be heavily considered).

Applicants must demonstrate that they have the ability to lead and manage an independent research project, but also be a part of collaborative team efforts. Commitment to bird and grassland conservation are a must, and demonstrated experience in these avenues are highly desired.

To apply, please send a single PDF with merged letter of interest stating interest in the position and qualifications, full academic CV, unofficial transcripts, and contact information for at least 3 professional references to  with “grassland bird PhD applicant” as the email subject.

I welcome informal inquiries about the position. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until a successful applicant is found. The desired start date is 8/15/23, but will be pushed to 1/1/24 if a candidate is not found by 8/1/23. Contact Person:  Jared Elmore; Contact eMail:

The Elmore Lab website: (

Leave a Reply