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Pre-announcement for four-year PhD research assistantship

Expiration Date: 

Pre-announcement for four-year PhD research assistantship: Southeastern freshwater mussel conservation 

Description: Over 70% of US freshwater mussels are imperiled, especially within the  Southeastern US biodiversity hotspot. We seek a PhD student to help develop a risk-assessment  tool to assist US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists evaluate imperilment of southeastern  freshwater mussels, while providing analytical support for the formal review of the Coosa  Creekshell – a mussel endemic to the Coosa River system (AL, GA). The candidate will work  closely with biologists from the USFWS, US Geological Survey, state agencies, and Mississippi  State University while learning in-demand skills transferable to broader applications in natural  resources decision-making. The project will mainly use existing distributional data, but there  may be opportunities for fieldwork if supporting project objectives. 

Qualifications: Applicants must have completed a master’s degree in natural resources, ecology,  or closely related field, and have interest in freshwater mussel conservation. Candidates should have interests in R programming, Geographic Information Systems, species distribution  modeling, and verbal and written communication. The hired candidate must be willing to learn emerging species status assessment methods, and work collaboratively and independently with  Drs Corey Dunn and Mike Colvin to develop dissertation chapters within the context of  southeastern aquatic conservation. 

Salary and benefits: Four-year Graduate Research Assistantship worth $23,500 per year + free health insurance, waived tuition, support for professional development and conference travel. 

Start date: Applicant review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The  position will be readvertised July 5, 2021 if unfilled. We encourage applicants to submit  materials as early as possible. We anticipate the hired candidate will enroll for fall semester  (August 18, 2021), but a later start date may be negotiated. 

Contact: To apply, please email with the subject line “Mussel Application” to Corey Dunn  ( (1) brief cover letter describing experiential background, career goals, and project interest; (2) resume/cv; (3) email addresses and phone numbers for three professional references; (4) updated official or unofficial transcripts. The hired candidate will eventually submit official transcripts to MSU before admission. We welcome informal inquiries. 

We are advertising this position as a PhD, but we encourage interested post-doctoral  scholars to email Corey Dunn in case of future funding on related research. 

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