Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry is pleased to announce a graduate research assistantship to support an MS student in conducting research in Forest Ecology. The student will be supervised by Dr. Akihiro Koyama, in collaboration with Dr. Lars Brudvig in the MSU Department of Plant Biology.

The successful candidate will help to lead a project investigating how the restoration of oak savannas through prescribed fire affects native tree species through plant-soil feedbacks. This will include field, greenhouse, and laboratory-based research, investigating biotic and abiotic plant-soil feedbacks, focusing on the interaction between native tree seedlings and root and soil microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi and pathogens.

Fieldwork will take place in an oak savanna restoration experiment at the MSU MacCready Nature Reserve, near Jackson Michigan, and greenhouse and lab-based activities will take place on campus. The assistantship is available for formal Spring 2024 enrollment. Funding for tuition, health, and stipend is available for two years.

Qualifications: The candidate should have: • Undergraduate degree in ecology or a related field • Previously attained and maintained exceptional academic standing • A GRE score • A TOEFL score of 84 iBT or higher (required for students with non-English credentials only) • Experience in report-writing or drafting research articles • A self-motivated, well-organized nature, adaptive to collaborative work • A valid driver’s license (by the time in spring 2024 when fieldwork starts)

Preference will be given to applicants with: • Bachelor’s degree in terrestrial ecology or closely related field • Experience conducting field and/or greenhouse-based studies • Experience with statistical analyses • Some background of soil microbiology • Peer-reviewed publications.

To show interest in the position (before the formal application process), please send a one-page cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information of three referees by email as a single pdf file to Dr. Aki Koyama at koyamaak@msu.edu. The cover letter should include motivations and strengths as a candidate for this position. Current MSU students and recent graduates may also apply via Handshake by searching for Posting # 8127550.

To be accepted into the graduate program, potential students must also apply through the MSU Graduate School at https://grad.msu.edu/apply. When formally applying, please indicate an interest in the Forest Ecology Graduate Assistantship in the required Statement of Interests. Applications must be completed by December 10, 2023 (November 1, 2023 for international applicants) for Spring 2024 enrollment.

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