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PhD Assistantship

Utah State University
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Job Description:

We are seeking a highly motivated and independent person to become a PhD candidate studying dusky grouse in Nevada. The objectives of our study are to: 1) study survival, reproduction/breeding ecology, and harvest rates, and 2) assess habitat/resource selection of the dusky grouse populations in the Schell Creek and Snake Mountain Ranges near Ely, Nevada. The student will work collaboratively with faculty at Utah State University and biologists from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). The student, with input from partners, will have the opportunity to develop their own specific research questions. This project is funded by NDOW primarily using Upland Game Stamp funds matching Wildlife Restoration grant dollars through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The student will need to be able to maintain an effective communication flow between all project partners, including monthly research updates and annual project reports. The successful candidate will need strong developed leadership and organizational skills. They will be expected to hire and oversee a crew of 3 to 4 technicians collecting field data, with protocols the student helped develop, in a remote and sparsely populated area of east-central Nevada. Field techniques will include capturing and radio-marking individual dusky grouse with harness-type remote download GPS radios, including a small VHF radio for ground tracking. The project objective is to maintain a radio-marked sample of ~ 30 female dusky grouse each year. Most likely dogs will be used to help locate dusky grouse for capturing and other monitoring purposes. Environmental conditions will be harsh at times and emergency services will not be readily available. Vegetation surveys will be conducted at use and random sites. Field data collection will require using four-wheel-drive vehicles, ATV/UTVs, and hiking long distances through steep/rugged and remote terrain. Some field work may require backpacking and overnight camping. In addition to field work, the successful candidate will need to perform data management using modern technology and current statistical techniques to analyze large datasets to estimate survival and reproductive rates, habitat characteristic assessments, and resource selection functions. The student will work in a lab with other graduate students and a Post Doc. All members of the lab are working primarily on grouse-related topics. Along with research, the lab also focuses on outreach and Extension products and activities. In addition to research responsibilities, the successful candidate will be expected to interact with partners, assess their needs, and produce Extension and outreach materials that meet those needs.



  • Must have a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology or a closely related field.
  • Must have completed a M.S. degree in Wildlife or related field. The candidate must have strong project management experience during their M.S. degree where they independently developed and supervised field-based data collection and performed statistical analyses.
  • GPA > 3.2 and GRE Scores ≥ 50 th percentile.
  • Experience capturing, handling, and radio-marking animals, where experience with avian, and especially grouse species, is encouraging.
  • Experience ground and aerial tracking animals using telemetry equipment.
  • Experience with orienteering and navigating with a handheld GPS and compass.


  • Experience using dogs to locate and/or capture animals.
  • Experience collecting and managing large datasets based on GPS Radio-marked animals.
  • Experience conducting vegetation/habitat sampling, with preference given to those with experience in western shrub and forested systems.
  • Experience working, especially leading field crews, in remote areas.
  • Experience conducting statistical analyses similar to those described above.
  • Experience publishing peer-reviewed articles from their own research in professional journals.
  • Experience, or at least comfortable, interacting positively with hunters, land management agency personnel, and livestock operators on a regular basis.
$30,400/year Total (Stipend, Tuition, Health Insurance)
How to Apply:

To apply for this position please attach to an email a single PDF file that includes a letter of interest, CV, transcripts, GRE scores, and contact information for 3 references to If you have a peer-reviewed publication(s) or one currently in review, please attach a separate document (no more than one article) to the email. In the subject line of the email please follow this example “[your name] – PhD Assistantship DG Nevada.” Review of applicants will begin immediately.