Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

MS: Impacts of wildfire on stream metal concentrations and macroinvertebrates 

We seek an MS student to start May 2024 on a project examining the influence of wildfire on patterns in metal concentrations in streams and impacts on benthic macroinvertebrates in western Montana. The student will be part of the Systems Ecology program at the University of Montana and jointly advised by Drs. Rachel Malison (Flathead Lake Biological Station) and Ben Colman (Franke College of Forestry and Conservation). 
 
The project is focused on understanding changes to water quality and potential effects on aquatic insect communities due to modified metals concentrations in streams following wildfire. Wildfires have profound effects on freshwater systems, yet the effect of metals mobilization following wildfire on aquatic organisms and communities has received less attention. Work will involve collecting field samples from streams in drainages that have burned over varying timescales, relating metals concentrations to the community composition of aquatic macroinvertebrates, and measuring the physiological tolerance of 1-2 stream benthic taxa to metal concentrations.  
 
Applicants from a range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply, especially those from historically excluded groups. Two and a half years of funding is available through a combination of teaching and research assistant positions. Tuition, research funding, and support for conference travel are also provided. Preference will be given to candidates with experience working with aquatic invertebrates, especially those with experience in aquatic insect taxonomy. The ideal candidate would also have prior research experience and possess both good organizational skills and an attention to detail. Candidates must have a BS/BA degree in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science, or a related field. 
 
Priority will be given to those who apply by January 10, 2024 by uploading the following information as a single pdf document to the link below: 1) a letter of interest describing past research experiences and future goals (1-page limit); 2) a resume or CV; 3) the names and contact information for three references; and 4) unofficial transcript(s) from undergraduate institution(s). 
 
Application link: https://umt.app.box.com/f/e4f761f2268841fc95f78086a72a78cd