Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

Ph.D. positions in coastal ecology at University of Virginia / VCR LTER 

[Full ad available at: https://castorani.evsc.virginia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Ad-for-grad-student-2023.pdf]

The Castorani Lab at the University of Virginia is recruiting 1–2 Ph.D. students to study coastal ecology at the Virginia Coast Reserve Long Term Ecological Research project (VCR LTER; https://vcrlter.virginia.edu/). The Virginia Coast Reserve is a temperate coastal lagoon with a 20-year legacy of seagrass and oyster reef restoration led by The Nature Conservancy and studied by researchers at UVA and beyond (https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/virginia/stories-in-virginia/vcr-marine-restoration/).  

Research in the Castorani Lab is diverse and focused on themes including spatial ecology, biodiversity, population dynamics, disturbance/recovery, and restoration. The student will conduct independent research at VCR LTER that may include field experiments, remote sensing, analysis of long-term data, and modeling. Students will be advised by professor Max Castorani (https://castorani.evsc.virginia.edu/) and join UVA’s Department of Environmental Sciences (https://evsc.as.virginia.edu/). Students will interface with a large community of VCR LTER scientists, as well as educators and restoration practitioners at The Nature Conservancy.  

Students will join the UVA Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences (https://evsc.as.virginia.edu/prospective-graduate-students), which offers interdisciplinary training and conducts research in ecology, hydrology, geology, and atmospheric science. Graduate students accepted into the program are typically supported through teaching and research assistantships that provide a competitive stipend, tuition, and health insurance.  

At the time of enrollment, highly qualified applicants will have an undergraduate or master’s degree in biology, ecology, oceanography, fisheries, or a related field. Ideal candidates will have strong interests in coastal ecology at the scale of populations, communities, ecosystems, or landscapes; experience in field ecology; and demonstrated quantitative skills, such as data analysis or scientific programming (or a strong motivation to acquire such skills).  

Those interested should send the following items, as a single PDF, to Dr. Max Castorani (castorani@virginia.edu): (1) a brief description of their background, career goals, motivations for pursuing a graduate degree, research ideas, and why they are specifically interested in joining the Castorani Lab; (2) a CV with academic and professional experience (including GPA); (3) contact information for 3 references; and (4) a writing sample, if available.  

The application deadline is January 15, 2024 for enrollment in Fall 2024. However, serious applicants should express their interest by email as soon as possible.  

The Castorani Lab is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable, and diverse research environment. Qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and family medical or genetic information.