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Graduate Research Assistant in Coastal Ecology

Seeking a highly motivated student to begin graduate research (Ph.D. candidate) at Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (DOCS) as early as January or June 2016. The student will join a team of researchers from LSU, The Water Institute of the Gulf and University of Rhode Island on an interdisciplinary project in coastal Louisiana and Northern Tanzania examining the trophic dynamics of estuarine fisheries and other ecosystem services in mangrove-centric food webs.
The student will be based in the Polito Lab at LSU but will also work closely with Dr. Victor H. Rivera-Monroy at LSU and Dr. Melissa Baustian at the Water Institute of the Gulf. Specifically, the student will design and conduct field studies in coastal Louisiana and Tanzania to better understand how mangrove- dominated ecosystems provide food and habitat for organisms that are key in supporting commercial and subsistence fisheries. The student will use bulk and compound-specific stable isotope analysis determine: 1) the relative use of mangroves habitats and carbon derived from mangroves versus other estuarine and near-shore habitats by adult fish and crustaceans targeted by subsistence and commercial fishers, and 2) the ontogenetic movements and use of mangrove habitats by juvenile fish that are subsequently targeted by subsistence and commercial fishers when they move outside of mangrove habitats as adults. This research will be integrated into larger studies of ecosystem services in both regions to help inform mangrove management policies that benefit communities facing climate change and coastal habitat loss. Four years of tuition and stipend support are available for the selected candidate and additional support is available via DOCS teaching assistantships and other institutional/grant sources.


Desired qualifications include: 1) M.S. degree in biology, ecology, fisheries, marine science, oceanography, or relevant discipline, 2) relevant field experience (very desirable), particularly in study design and sampling methods specific to estuarine fisheries and coastal food webs, 3) relevant laboratory experience, particularly in stable isotope analyses. 

How To Apply

Interested candidates should fill out a pre-application form for the DOCS graduate program and indicate that you would like to work with Dr. Polito. In addition, please email a single pdf containing a cover letter with your research interests and experience, a brief summary of accomplishments (should include educational background, GPA, GRE scores), contact information for at least three professional references, and CV to Dr. Polito at mpolito[at]lsu[dot]edu. Qualified candidates will be contacted directly and encouraged to submit a full application to the Ph.D. graduate program in DOCS. Applications submitted by December 15, 2015 will receive first consideration and the position will remain open until a candidate is selected. A January or June 2016 start date is preferred due to associated field work, however we will consider exceptional candidates available to start in fall 2016.