Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

Graduate student in marine ecology  

The Casey Lab (https://caseylab.weebly.com/) at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute (UTMSI; https://utmsi.utexas.edu/) is recruiting a graduate student to conduct research on oyster reefs along the Texas Coastal Bend and beyond. This research will be part of an exciting collaboration to determine the impact of harvest closures on oyster reef functioning, with opportunities to conceive and conduct research in coral reef trophic ecology. UTMSI is a marine research facility located in Port Aransas, a small community on the Gulf coast of Texas, approximately 3.5 hours from the University of Texas main campus in Austin. 
Closing date: September 22, 2023 
Virtual interviews: early October 
Preferred start date: summer or fall 2024 
 
Position description 
A graduate research assistantship is available for students seeking a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. The research topic will center around developing a conservation framework for oyster reefs across Texas estuaries. The student will evaluate oyster reef biodiversity with environmental DNA (eDNA) and examine the prevalence of the parasite Perkinsus marinus in oyster tissue, which causes dermo disease. The student will work with a large, collaborative team, including academic researchers, resource managers, and stakeholders, to develop a tool that is directly applicable to the management and restoration of oyster reefs for the Texas Park and Wildlife Department (TPWD). In addition, the student will have the opportunity to conceive and execute independent projects in marine trophic ecology, which may be carried out along the Texas Coastal Bend or on coral reefs. The successful candidate will receive appropriate training, participate in collaborative lab projects, and have access to research  
funds. Subject to satisfactory performance, the position is funded for up to five years, including a 12-month stipend of $32,008 and health insurance. The preferred start date is June 2024, but this can be delayed until late August 2024.  
 
Qualifications 
The applicant must have a Bachelors or Masters degree in an appropriate scientific discipline, a strong academic background, one or more years of experience conducting marine field and/or lab work, and a demonstrated capacity to contribute to a collaborative research environment.  
Desired, but not required, training/experience includes small boat operation, molecular lab work (e.g., DNA metabarcoding), proficiency with the programming language R, and publishing scientific research. 
 
Application 
To apply, submit a single pdf to Dr. Casey (jordan.casey@austin.utexas.edu) by Sept 22, 2023, including : 
(1) CV  including degree(s), work experience, and publications (if applicable) 
(2) Letter of interest / research proposal that addresses the following prompts: 
How have your personal and academic experiences contributed to your enthusiasm for research and prepared you for graduate studies in marine science? (~200 words) 
Describe a long-term goal that you’ve achieved or are working to achieve. What barriers did you (or will you need to) overcome to accomplish your goal? (~200 words) 
How does exposure to diverse people, places, and experiences shape the culture of a workplace? What type of culture would you help build at UTMSI? (~200 words; please refer to UTs website: https://www.utexas.edu/about/diversity-equity-and-inclusion
Detail your primary research interests and how those interests align with this position (1 page)  
(3) Academic references  names and contact information of two referees 
Post-interview, the successful applicant must formally apply through UTMSI by December 1, 2023. Find out more about UTMSI’s Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees and admission requirements (https://utmsi.utexas.edu/academics/graduate). The GRE is NOT required. US-based and international applicants are welcome to apply.