Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD Assistantship at Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma Loggerhead Shrikes

A PhD assistantship is available in Oklahoma State University (OSU) department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management as part of a collaboration among the OConnell, Duchardt, and Loss labs, and in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The research focus of the assistantship will include development of a spatial database and monitoring protocol for the declining Loggerhead Shrike, an iconic predatory songbird in open country of North America, and implementation of the protocol to identify shrike habitat associations during both breeding and non-breeding seasons. The project may also interface with other Loggerhead Shrike research groups in North America, and the PhD student will have an opportunity to develop additional research and outreach activities related to shrike ecology and management, including coordination of a citizen/community science effort to locate and document shrike larder (i.e., food cache) locations. Possible additional research topics include but are not limited to: shrike food preferences/foraging ecology; factors influencing overlap between Loggerhead Shrike and similar-sized avian predators (e.g., Northern Shrike and American Kestrel); and large-scale analyses using existing datasets on shrike distributions and demography.

The position will begin January 2024, and 4 years of research and teaching assistantship funding are available. A stipend of $2,000/month ($24,000/yr) will be provided along with full tuition waiver and health insurance at $20/month.

Required qualifications: By the time of employment, applicants must possess a Bachelors degree in Wildlife Ecology/Management, Natural Resources, Ecology, or a related field, plus relevant experience in Geographic Information Systems, spatial modeling, and field sampling for birds. The applicant must have a strong work ethic and sense of self-motivation and leadership; strong written and oral communication skills including experience communicating with the public during fieldwork; an ability to work independently and to supervise a small field crew in remote locations; and a passion for conducting scientific inquiry in the fields of ecology, conservation biology, and/or natural resource management. A US drivers license is required.

Preferred qualifications: Ideal candidates will have one or several of the following skills and experiences: Masters degree in a relevant field; conducting, presenting, and publishing mentored research; designing, coordinating, and supervising field projects; leading or conducting bird monitoring surveys; ability and desire to amass a database with complex information from disparate sources; and experience with statistical and spatial analyses.

To Apply: Send applications to Tim OConnell (tim.oconnell@okstate.edu) by 31 August 2023; applications should consist of a single zip file or merged pdf that includes: (1) a cover letter outlining how you meet required and preferred qualifications, (2) a CV, (3) unofficial academic transcripts, and (4) contact information for three references.

About the OConnell, Duchardt, and Loss labs: Our labs lead and collaborate on a wide range of research projects in natural resource ecology and management, with strong emphases on wildlife ecology and management; grassland, forest, and urban biodiversity; and major global change issues like climate change and invasive species. We are committed to fostering an environment where diversity of background and thought is accepted and encouraged. We will provide outstanding mentoring to the selected applicant, with a goal of top-tier scholarly productivity and development in an atmosphere that prioritizes work/life balance and health above all. For more information about our labs, see:

OConnell Lab: https://timoconnell.wordpress.com/

Duchardt Lab: https://cduchardt.weebly.com/

Loss Lab: https://scottrloss.wixsite.com/losslab