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Two M.S. positions studying wild bee ecology in managed forest landscapes 

The Forest Animal Ecology Laboratory, led by Dr. Jim Rivers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University (OSU), is offering two M.S. positions for research projects studying the ecology and conservation of wild bees in managed forest landscapes. These positions provide excellent opportunities for highly motivated students that are interested in conducting applied ecological research on wild pollinators with direct conservation implications. Students will be admitted into the Sustainable Forest Management Graduate Program in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management at OSU. Incumbents will gain experience conducting research on native pollinators in working forest landscapes, in addition to developing skills needed for a science-based career, including data analysis, scientific writing, and public speaking. 

Project #1: forest bee response to thinning and prescribed fire – This project is funded by the Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests Program in the OSU College of Forestry and it will evaluate the response of wild bee communities to forest management undertaken to reduce fire risk in dry forests. Research will take place in the Malheur National Forest in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon at sites that have been subjected to mechanical thinning and/or prescribed fire treatments for varying amounts of time. The incumbent may develop additional research questions that are germane to focal project objectives as time allows. The start date for this position is expected to be early May 2024. 

Project #2: cavity-nesting bee ecology within intensively managed forests – This project is funded by the USDA-AFRI Pollinator Health Program and is centered on understanding the demographic response of bees to intensive forest management. The project goals are to evaluate how the cavity-nesting bee Osmia lignaria responds to managed conifer forests in western Oregon, and the student will use advanced digital x-ray techniques to quantify bee demographic responses and measures of health. The incumbent will also contribute to field work that supports broader project objectives (e.g., bee and floral sampling), and may develop additional research questions related to focal project objectives as time allows. The start date for this position is expected to be early April 2024. 

Application information 

For both positions, applicants must be scientifically curious, hard-working, self-motivated, and have a strong desire to develop skills that are critical for success in a science-based career. The strongest applicants will have experience leading independent research to completion, working knowledge of software programs used to organize and analyze data, and prior experience conducting research on wild bees within managed forest landscapes. Applicants may apply for more than one position, but their cover letter must indicate the positions(s) for which they would like to be considered. 

Minimum qualifications 

·   B.S. degree in animal ecology, wildlife biology, entomology, or a closely related field 

·   at least 2 years of experience conducting field research (1 seasonal position = 1 year of experience) 

·   detail oriented with strong time- and project-management skills 

·   evidence of strong written and oral communication skills 

·   evidence of field experience conducting research in remote locations 

·   ability to work long hours in all types of weather and conditions 

Preferred qualifications 

·   demonstrated experience conducting field research on insects, especially wild bees in managed forests 

·   evidence of completing independent research (e.g., undergraduate thesis, peer-reviewed publication) 

·   evidence of successful leadership of a field crew(s) in data collection 

·   demonstrated knowledge of flowering plants of the Pacific Northwest 

·   experience conducting statistical and spatial data analysis (i.e., R and GIS/QGIS, respectively) 


All incumbents will be hired as field technicians in late spring/early summer 2024 to help lead field data collection efforts, with matriculation into the graduate program in fall 2024. Graduate positions will start in late September 2024 and provide a 12-month stipend (at least $2,388/month), tuition, and health insurance for two years, subject to a satisfactory performance review after 12 months. Each student will be supported by research and/or teaching assistantships; applicants with existing funding (e.g., NSF, Fulbright) will be given priority during the review process. 

Application Instructions 

Applicants must submit a single PDF that contains all of the following: 

  • a cover letter that (1) indicates the position(s) to which the applicant is applying, (2) provides evidence of the applicant’s qualifications for the position(s), and (3) describes how a graduate degree fits into the applicant’s long-term career goals,  
  • a full-length curriculum vitae or resume, 
  • an official copy of the applicant’s academic transcript(s), and 
  • the names, email, telephone, and mailing address of 3 professional references. 

This single document should be emailed to OSUBeePositions@gmail.com with “M.S. position application for [YOURNAME]” in the subject line, with the applicant’s first and last name swapped in for “[YOURNAME].” Applications that are incomplete or that consist of multiple documents will not be considered. Questions about the positions should be sent to this email address as well. Review of applications for both positions will begin on November 1, 2023, and positions will remain open until suitable candidates have been selected. 

Dr. Jim Rivers (he/him/his

Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology 

Dept. Forest Engineering, Resources, & Management 

College of Forestry | Oregon State University 

Phone: +1 541-737-6581 

Forest Animal Ecology Lab