Background: Carnivore populations, particularly wolves, have been recovering and reclaiming recently unoccupied habitat, with a corresponding increase in the intensity and frequency of livestock depredations. While there are many potential tools and strategies available to livestock producers and land managers, there is little research on how they influence livestock behavior or rangeland ecology.
This project, funded through the WCNR Hatch Program, will use controlled experiments are necessary to evaluate the direct and indirect impacts of various predation deterrent devices on livestock and rangeland ecology. Project Description: The Yovovich Lab in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University is seeking motivated applicants for a PhD project focusing on indirect impacts of livestock-carnivore conflict and prevention on rangeland management and conservation.
The overall project goal is to better understand how wolves directly and indirectly influence cattle behavior, and how those dynamics influence rangeland ecology so ranchers may understand and manage these interactions. The successful applicant will design their dissertation research to achieve the following project objectives:
– Gather information on current practices that Colorado ranchers utilize to protect their livestock against carnivore predation in rangeland settings. – Determine livestock behavioral responses to carnivore predation deterrents on rangeland sites in Colorado. – Measure how changes in cattle behavioral responses might lead to changes in rangeland ecological health.
– Develop an agent-based model to simulate the relationships between predation deterrent-induced changes in cattle behavior and consequences for rangeland ecology. – Generate a strategic framework to minimize and mitigate unintended range management consequences of utilizing carnivore predation deterrents and extend that framework to livestock producers throughout Colorado and beyond. This is a highly collaborative project, and the student will spend considerable time in the field, as well as working with project partners within and external to CSU and CSU Extension.
Qualifications: Candidates from underrepresented groups in STEM are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants must possess a M.A./M.S. in wildlife biology, ecology, human dimensions of natural resources, environmental studies, range science, or a related field. Applicants should be highly motivated with a strong work ethic and well-developed oral and written communication skills. Competitive candidates will demonstrate experience conducting independent research, presenting research/extension, and analyzing data in R or other statistical platforms.
Applicants must have the ability to work well with others who may hold differing views and have a strong ability to communicate well with diverse stakeholders. Successful applicants will demonstrate capacity to work in a team-oriented environment, to learn new analytical skills, and experience conducting fieldwork and problem-solving in remote settings. Applicants must also possess a valid driver’s license.
Compensation: Students will be supported (stipend, tuition, and health insurance) on a combination of research assistantship for 3 years and an additional semester of teaching assistantship (for 3.5 years of secured support). The student will apply for additional funding to supplement the project and develop their grant-writing skills.
To apply: Please send a single document (e.g., a Word or pdf document) that includes: 1) a cover letter, 2) a brief writing excerpt (1-2 paragraphs from a publication, class writing assignment, etc.), 3) a CV, 4) unofficial transcripts, 5) unofficial general GRE scores, and 6) contact information for three references (no letters needed yet). The name of the document should be titled YourName_HatchPhDapplication. This file should be sent to Dr. Veronica Yovovich (firstname.lastname@example.org), with “Hatch graduate student position” in the subject line. Application review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled, but preference will be given to applications received by May 19, 2023.
Contact Person: Veronica Yovovich: Contact eMail: email@example.com