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MS Grad Position – NMSU – Impacts of Pinyon-juniper management on mammals

MS Student Position – Impacts of pinyon-juniper fuel reduction treatments on mammals 

New Mexico State University – Dept of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Ecology 

The Gompper lab at New Mexico State University (NMSU), in collaboration with the Frey lab at NMSU and USFWS Science Applications, seek applicants for a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) funded MS student position to study the effects of pinyon-juniper fuel reduction treatments on mammals in Utah. Ideally, the student would start in January 2024, although earlier start dates might be considered if the individual is willing to initially begin work as a technician on the project prior to commencing graduate work. Pending final funding decisions from the BLM, project funding support will be available for 2.5 years with the expectation that the student will also act as a Teaching Assistant for at least one semester during their time at the university. NMSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Ecology is active, growing and strongly supportive of its students. 

Over a century of fire suppression and climate change have heightened wildfire risk in many western US ecosystems. In Utah, fuel reduction treatments are used to decrease fuel loads and mitigate the risk of severe wildfires thereby protecting valuable wildlife habitat and adjacent towns and communities. The fuel reduction treatments use mechanical methods to remove vegetation without the use of prescribed fires, modifying potential hazardous fire behavior and reducing fire intensity without management-caused fire risks. These treatments supposedly benefit. However, no assessments have occurred to determine the short- and long-term impacts on the terrestrial mammal community. The goal of this project is to evaluate the impacts of treatments by assessing mammal community diversity and dynamics between control areas and various types of treatment habitats. 

Qualifications include an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, with evidence of strong writing and quantitative skills. The successful applicant will have demonstrated interests in wildlife biology. The successful applicant would also have the willingness and ability to work both alone and as a team member in a rugged and remote landscape, a valid driver’s license and ability to drive 4-wheel drive vehicles (e.g. SUV or pick-up truck) on unimproved (i.e. gravel or dirt) roads. The student is expected to collaborate as part of a team that includes representatives from university and federal agencies. 

Contact: Dr Matthew Gompper via email (gompperm@nmsu.edu). Please include a letter of interest, CV/resume, unofficial copies of transcripts, and the names and contact information of three (3) individuals who can act as references. Review of the applications will begin on 31 October 2023 and continue until the position is filled. 

Matthew E Gompper 

Professor and Department Head 

Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology 

New Mexico State University 

Las Cruces, NM 88003 USA