We are seeking applications for a Ph.D. graduate assistantship to work on a
collaborative research project examining synergies between wildlife conservation and
water conservation in working agricultural landscapes of the midwestern US.
The successful candidate will lead an effort to model species of greatest conservation
need (SGCN) distribution in Iowa and then apply those models to watershed
conservation scenarios developed using agricultural conservation planning tools
(Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework; ACPF) to understand species
responses and synergistic water quality benefits.
The research will include considerable taxonomic diversity of SGCN but will focus on
bird conservation (the PI’s expertise and interest, though this is negotiable). The student
will gain expertise in questions related to the distribution and ecology of terrestrial
SGCN in response to land use patterns and conservation paradigms addressing water
and wildlife conservation in working landscapes. The research will use the Iowa DNR’s
Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program’s rich 15-year dataset for SGCN in
Iowa to describe occupancy dynamics and generate predictive maps for SGCN for
conservation practitioners and researchers to apply. The research will also examine
how water conservation practices and associated land-use change can be tailored to
address SGCN conservation priorities and meet water quality goals. The student will
work with agency and NGO partners to design additional aspects of field or laboratory
research to integrate into a dissertation examining intersections between water and
wildlife conservation in working lands contexts in the midwestern US.
The project can be tailored to fit student interests and career goals while keeping its
core focus on wildlife conservation in dynamic working agricultural landscapes.
The assistantship at Iowa State University is under supervision of Dr. Adam Janke and
will be supported by a combined teaching and research assistantship that provides a
$24,000 per year stipend, health insurance, and a 100% tuition waiver. Collaborators on
the project include Dr. Tyler Harms and Dr. Karen Kinkead of the Iowa DNR and Dr.
Emily Zimmerman of Iowa State University. The assistantship is fully funded through
grants from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Nutrient Research
Center, and Iowa State University (teaching assistantships).
Interested applicants should submit a pdf application packet via email to Dr. Adam
Janke with the subject line “Wildlife and water conservation Ph.D. project”. The
application packet should include a letter of interest describing career goals and
professional interests, a CV including cumulative GPA, unofficial transcripts, a
description of any previous experience in wildlife conservation or research, and
telephone and email contact information for three references. Review of applicants will
begin immediately and continue until filled.
Candidates should have a BS and MS (strongly preferred) in wildlife ecology or a
closely related field. Good organizational skills, attention to detail, a strong work ethic,
and excellent communication skills. Applicants with experience and skills in Bayesian
inference, occupancy analysis, ArcGIS, or working landscapes will be most competitive.
Applicants interested in applied research and education will be a strong fit for the
research and department. Applicants should have a graduate GPA ≥3.0 and a valid
driver’s license (or ability to get one). Applicants from underrepresented or historically
excluded groups are encouraged to apply.
Applicants are sought to commence their studies at Iowa State University in January
2023 (though earlier is feasible). Those seeking a later start date on or before May 2023
may be considered.