Graduate Research Assistantship in Ecosystem change in the Arctic

Scholarships for Graduates » Research Scholarships » International Funds

USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) and the University of Puerto Rico - Ro Piedras Department of Biology

Closing date: Open until filled.

Position available: For a MS graduate student.

The successful applicant will have a strong interest in field ecology, vegetation - including bryophytes and lichens, statistical analyses and modeling, GIS analyses, and ecosystem change studies.

Background: This research is part of an integrated large scale experimental study, the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) (, to look at the response of Arctic vegetation to changes in climate.

It is also part of the International Polar Year (IPY -, a large scientific program focusing research on the Arctic and the Antarctic from March to March.

ITEX has been measuring experimentally controled changes in productivity, phenology, vegetation composition, and nutrient fluxes within small scale vegetation plots replicated at many sites across the Arctic.

The student will continue with these long term measurements by sampling vegetation composition in natural and experimentally modified (by warming and altering snow depth) plots at the Toolik Lake Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in Northern Alaska and analyze vegetation change over the last two decades using data from long term monitoring.

The goal of these analyses are to determine real and potential responses of arctic tundra to climate in order to further our understanding of ecosystem response to climatic change and to better our response to these changes in terms of land management.

The student will work under Dr. William Gould (US Forest Service), in collaboration with Dr. Jess Zimmerman (UPR professor), and in cooperation with several collaborators in the NSF -funded project.

The student will join the research team in the IITF GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Ro Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Candidates should have the following skills:

  • Educational background in ecology, botany, environmental studies, or a related disciplinary areas;
  • Proficiency and experience in identifying and keying plant species;
  • Motivation to work independently;
  • Excellent computing and writing skills, motivation to publish in peer-reviewed journals;

    Applicants should submit the following to William Gould at wgould [at]

  • Cover letter summarizing research interests and academic and professional background
  • Resume/ CV
  • Copies of transcripts (unofficial transcripts acceptable at this point)
  • GRE scores, if available
  • Names and contact information for three references (no letters needed at this time)

    This position is available beginning May 2007 with understanding to start coursework in Fall 2007.

    Field work in Alaska will be from mid July to the end of August in 2007 and 2008.

    The graduate assistantship is available for a 2-year period and will include an annual stipend, health insurance, and a tuition waiver.

    Any offer of an assistantship is dependent upon acceptance to the UPR-Ro Piedras Graduate School

    Follow the links below for more details and application contacts.

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