The Predictive Ecology Lab at UNCG is recruiting a master’s student to join the lab as part of the NExS project (Navigating Extremes in Savannas), to start Spring 2024. As part of their thesis, the student will conduct independent research that uses information about plant demography and growth to fine-tune and run mathematical process-based ecosystem models.
The student will learn how to use predictive tools, such as ecosystem models, state-of-the-art statistical analyses, and will learn a variety of field sampling techniques. Student support will include tuition coverage, student stipend, and all work travel expenses.
Research focus: This position is part of an NSF-funded project (NExS) assessing how diversity of plant traits at the population and community level provide stability under multiple concurrent global change extremes in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The master’s student will be responsible for assisting with field measurements in Kruger, incorporating plant trait data into a process-based model, and running computer simulations of ecological extremes in savanna ecosystems. Process-based models are collections of mathematical equations that represent ecological processes, such as photosynthesis, plant growth, and cycling of things like carbon and water in ecosystems.
We do not expect the incoming student to know how to operate a process-based model, and the student will receive extensive training on this process. Collectively, these activities will culminate in the formation of the student’s MS thesis. Locations: UNCG is an inclusive learning community with a campus-wide culture that embodies access, equity, diversity, excellence, and collaboration, with an enrollment of more than 19,000 students, including 3,500 graduate students, and 2,800 faculty and staff.
UNCG is located in a metropolitan area of more than 1.6 million in the Piedmont region of North Carolina with 20 regional universities and community colleges, and one hour from the Raleigh/Durham Research Triangle Park. Kruger National Park is a 2 million hectare natural savanna ecosystem in the north eastern section of South Africa that supports a diverse assemblage of flora and wildlife, including lions, leopards, zebra, giraffe, elephants, and kudu (and many others).
During their research, the student will travel to the Satara rest camp in the national park and will work in the Experimental Burn Plots (EBPs). The EBPs were initiated in Kruger in 1954 to examine the effects of fire frequency on vegetation, and our research group has been studying various dynamics in these plots for almost two decades. The student will make at least one trip to Kruger each year, so willingness to travel and work at a relatively remote field site is required.
Desired qualifications: • Bachelor of Science degree in related field • General understanding of plant ecology • Experience conducting biological research • Willingness to travel internationally and to conduct research at relatively remote field sites • Strong work ethic • Insatiable curiosity about the natural world • Willingness to learn new techniques and skills, including using process-based models
How to apply: Underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are strongly encouraged to apply. For full consideration, please send your application package as a single PDF by July 28th, at 5 pm ET to email@example.com.
The application package PDF should include: 1. A two-page letter outlining your research interests, training, and why you are interested in this position 2. Curriculum vitae or resume 3. Contact information (email and phone numbers) for two academic or professional references
Salary: $22K stipend + tuition coverage
Last Date to Apply: 07/28/2023
Contact Person: Kevin Wilcox, Contact eMail firstname.lastname@example.org