Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

Gulf Coastal Plain graduate positions available 

The Davis Lab in the School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi seeks Ph.D. and M.S. students (starting January 2024) interested in studying various projects in the diverse longleaf pine forests of the Gulf Coastal Plain.  All projects are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service. 

Projects include: 

  1. Effects of forestry management practices (e.g., clearcutting, herbicide site preparation, etc.) on soil microbiomes.  This will be a Ph.D. position in collaboration with the lab of Dmitri Mavrodi 
  1. Habitat characterization of two crayfish currently considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act, Procambarus fitzpatricki and Creaserinus danielae(M.S. or Ph.D. position).   
  1. Population ecology of the critically endangered frog, Lithobatus sevosus (M.S. or Ph.D. position). 
  1. Pitcher plant bog restoration (M.S. or Ph.D. position). 

All study sites are within longleaf pine forests and wetlands within the unique Pascagoula River Watershed.  Sites will also be nested within the DeSoto National Forest, Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, or Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.  All sites are near the epicenter of the North American Coastal Plain Biodiversity Hotspot.  Upland habitats are dominated by the second largest cluster of biologically diverse longleaf pine forests in the United States.  Visit the links below for more information about these ecologically unique areas. 

https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/pascagoula-river-watershed

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/mississippi-sandhill-crane

https://www.nationalforests.org/blog/longleaf-pine-expansion-on-mississippi-national-forests

The successful applicant will be able to adapt their thesis/dissertation to include areas such as ecology, biogeography, physiology, or taxonomy.  Students will have the opportunity to work closely and network with staff from multiple state and federal agencies as well as environmental non-profit organizations. 

Required experience: B.S. in biological sciences, conservation biology, ecology, or related field with coursework in botany and statistics. 

Preferred experience: Previous research involving plant ecology, microbial genomics, or crustacean biology. 

Full tuition scholarships for the successful applicant are provided.  Stipends are provided by Research Assistantship (January-mid August) and Teaching Assistantship (mid August-December).  Women and students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Deadline for Spring 2024 applications is 15 October 2024, but interested parties should contact Dr. Davis as soon as possible prior to formal application submission. To inquire, submit (via e-mail) a cover letter with a brief (~ one page) review of your research experience and interests and goals and a CV to: Mike.Davis@usm.edu.  Although the School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences at USM does not have a minimum set of scores to be eligible for entrance into the graduate program, potential applicants should expect to have a minimum GPA of 3.00 and have taken the GRE before application. For more information on admission follow this link: https://www.usm.edu/graduate-programs/biologcal-sciences.php. Information about Hattiesburg may be found following this link: https://www.visithburg.org 

Micheal Davis 

Professor  

Assistant Director, School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences  

Director, Lake Thoreau Environmental Center  

118 College Drive, Box 5018  

Hattiesburg, MS 39406  

601-266-5419 
Mike.Davis@usm.edu