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Graduate assistantship in wetland biogeochemistry and nutrient cycling

Expiration Date: 

Description: We seek a MS or PhD level graduate student interested in nitrogen cycling in managed wetland habitats to begin in Spring of 2023. The position is part of a larger multi-disciplinary project examining how novel water management practices of fallow agricultural fields enhance migratory shorebird habitat while providing other ecosystem services including excess nitrogen removal and reduced sediment runoff from agricultural fields. The position can start as soon as January 2023, with three semesters and two summers of stipend support through a research assistantship, with subsequent support through a teaching assistantship available as needed. During Spring and Summer of 2023, the candidate will work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Sedimentation Lab to assist with setting up and testing methods targeting potential nitrogen cycling pathways (denitrification, N2O production, ANAMMOX, DNRA, and N fixation) using primarily Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry (MIMS). In the following Fall and Winter, the candidate will conduct extensive field work and laboratory incubations to characterize selected nitrogen cycling pathways in flooded agricultural soils across field sites experimentally managed for different timing and duration of flooding. For a PhD student, the project could potentially be expanded to include examination of the role of microbes in these nutrient cycling processes. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Jason Hoeksema (project PI) within the UM Department of Biology but will also work closely with Dr. Jason Taylor from the USDA Agricultural Research Service. 

Qualifications: B.S. in aquatic ecology or related field. This position requires a strong work ethic, writing, organizational, and data management skills. It will also require a willingness to complete field work as part of a team under potentially harsh conditions (ranging from hot and humid to cold, wet, and windy). Applicants interested in wetland biogeochemistry, nutrient cycling, or novel management of agroecosystems are especially encouraged to apply. Previous experience with MIMS would be highly valued but is not necessary.

Location: The candidate would join the graduate program in Biology at the University of Mississippi (UM). The applicant will also have access to significant instrumentation, guidance, and technical and field assistance from the Water Quality & Ecology Research Unit at USDA’s National Sedimentation Lab (NSL). The NSL is conveniently located 1 mile from the UM campus. The University of Mississippi and the NSL are located in Oxford, Mississippi, about a 5-hour drive from the Gulf of Mexico, and about 1 hr and 15 minutes from Memphis, Tennessee.  Oxford is a charming small college town that offers a high quality of life for its residents. 

Support: $10,300 per semester stipend, plus $5,000 per summer. A full tuition waiver, student fees, and health insurance are included.

Closing date: Until filled. Applicants should submit materials as soon as possible to be considered.

Preferred start date: January 2023

Contact: To express interest in the position, please contact Drs. Hoeksema and Taylor by email, including a CV or resume as an attachment (,