The Beckman Lab at Utah State University is recruiting PhD students beginning Fall of 2017
The Beckman Lab investigates interactions between plants and their environment occurring over multiple scales and examines the role of these interactions in limiting plant populations and maintaining biodiversity. Many of these interactions are disrupted by global change, and we examine the consequences of these disruptions for plant communities and ecosystem functions. The research group uses a combination of empirical and quantitative approaches to address our research questions. Examples of ongoing projects include: 1) synthesizing data with mathematical models to predict extinction risk of plant species to climate change, 2) understanding the importance of seed dispersal under global change, and 3) examining the influence of dispersal and plant consumers on plant spatial patterns.
Graduate students will be encouraged to develop creative and independent research projects related to research themes within the Beckman Lab. Students should have an interest in ecological theory and combining field/lab studies with modeling (e.g., mathematical, statistical, simulation). Potential locations for field work include sites in Utah and Panama.
The Beckman Lab is housed in the Department of Biology and Ecology Center at Utah State University (USU). The research group has on-going research in Panama in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). USU also has a strong program in Mathematical Biology. Both at USU and STRI, there are a variety of opportunities for education and training, resources to conduct research, and opportunities for collaboration in ecology.
USU has excellent resources for students. Full-time graduate students receive graduate research or teaching assistantships that include stipends, tuition, and health benefits. USU, the Department of Biology and the Ecology Center have funding opportunities available for graduate students. A four-year Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowship (PDRF) is avialable through the Biology Department (includes stipend, full-tuition, health insurance and several training opportunities). USU received an NSF Research Traineeship award providing graduates students in STEM interdisciplinary training opportunities through a Climate Adaptation Science specialization.
The Office of Global Engagement can assist international students, and there is a Science Writing Center that aids students in increasing their effectiveness in scientific writing. USU has a local chapter of the The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) - in which the Biology Department is actively involved.
The main campus of USU is located in Logan, Utah, 85 miles north of Salt Lake City. Logan is a city of 100,000 people in Cache Valley surrounded by the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. With close proximity to mountains, lakes, rivers, and national parks, there are lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including skiing, climbing, mountain biking, etc!
Before applying, interested candidates should contact Dr. Beckman (nbeckman AT sesync.org) with a letter of interest, CV, and contact information for two references. In your letter, include a description of your research interests and why you are interested in joining the research group as well as a summary of your prior research experience and your academic background (e.g., relevant coursework).
The recommended date to pre-apply is December 1 and application to the School of Graduate Studies is January 15 for full consideration of financial support. See the prospective students page for application details.
The Beckman Lab is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.