Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

Phd position in chemical ecology, Colorado State University 

The Davis Forest Health Lab at Colorado State University, in collaboration with the National Park Service and private research groups, is seeking a highly quantitative, motivated, and independent PhD student to lead a project exploring the basic biology and ecology of bark beetles in giant sequoia trees. The successful applicant will be admitted to the Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship and pursue a degree through the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, based in Fort Collins, Colorado (USA).  

The student will work to understand the chemical signals that drive behaviors of the western cedar bark beetle, Phloeosinus punctatus (=rubicundulus), with particular focus on tree protection and developing tools for monitoring and controlling populations. Successful applicants are expected to learn and apply several tools in chemical ecology including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, headspace sampling, and electroantennography. Project fieldwork will be based out of California, but students will attend Colorado State University during the academic year.  

Candidates must have a B.S., and preferably an M.S., in ecology, entomology, forestry, or a related field. Applicants with previous experience in chemical ecology and insect behavior will be strongly preferred. Successful applicants will work with a diverse team of researchers and have access to specialized analytical chemistry equipment. Applicants will be expected to produce high-quality research and present their work to ecosystem managers at conferences and via peer-reviewed publications.  

A graduate assistantship will be provided, which includes tuition and benefits, at an annual stipend of $26,000. To apply, please email a single .pdf file that contains 1) a detailed cover letter outlining experience and interest in studying insect chemical ecology, 2) a CV, 3) contact information for three references, and 4) unofficial transcripts to Seth Davis (seth.davis[at]colostate.edu).  

Review of applicants will begin 15 December 2023. Start date is negotiable but before the end of June 2024 is preferred.