Opportunities for Graduate students
Graduate school can be a great experience or it can deter young people from the science world. Fortunately, I had a wonderful experience at Florida State University under Tom Miller and Don Levitan. I want to make sure the passion and devotion to science as well as the fun aspects of graduate school that my advisors instilled in me gets passed down to my own students. Having said this, I’m currently accepting applications from motivated, independent, and creative prospective graduate students for both the masters and doctoral levels. You can find out more about the University of Adelaide PhD program here.
I encourage my graduate students to select their own research projects and develop them with considerable independence. I view my role as that of a facilitator in this process, generating interactions with students through weekly lab meetings, journal groups, plus I keep an open-door policy for those last-minute emergency questions. Students in my lab should not feel restricted to my own research questions or systems, but should share a common interest in community ecology and marine biology.
General advice for prospective marine ecologists: It is important for graduate students in marine ecology to have prior experience in field research and be prepared to think critically and independently about scientific questions. There are many ways to get this sort of experience: work as a research assistant or intern, take advantage of research opportunities at your undergraduate institution. All of these experiences will give you a taste of what it’s like to spend hours in the field, followed by lab work and topped by writing and analysis; it will help you decide whether this is the right path for you. A Ph.D. in field ecology takes time, therefore you should put careful thought into deciding to commit. Think about why you want to do this, and whether graduate school is really the way to go.
If, after all this, you’re interested in joining my research group, contact me! Send me an email to let me know who you are, why you’re specifically interested in working in my lab, and what sort of research questions you find compelling. No, you don’t have to have a project planned before you start grad school, but people who know generally what they like (and why) have a head start in this process.
Undergraduates and Honours Students
Independent Research: Working in an active research lab is a great way to test out career interests, build your resume for graduate school applications, and earn credit at the same time. I am able to sponsor undergraduate independent research projects (honors research or directed independent study), which are most appropriate for upper-level undergrads. Students will work with me to develop an appropriate research plan, collect and analyze data, and interpret the results.
Undergraduate projects may be a discrete part of an existing project in the lab (for example analyzing data from field samples, small field experiments that serve as pilot studies, and literature reviews that help synthesize ideas); or, more rarely, consist of a completely independent project. Sharing results with others is an integral part of science, so undergraduate researchers will be expected to participate in and present their work in lab meetings.
Note: Undergraduate researchers are eligible for grants through several channels within the UT Austin system. Please contact me if you are interested in participating and submitting a proposal. If you’d like to apply to use one of these awards to conduct research in my lab, be sure to contact me well before the deadline so that we can discuss your project plans.
Summer field assistantships: The summer is when the bulk of my field research is conducted, and it is the time when I seek several research assistants. Each year I welcome two to four reliable, self-motivated undergraduate students that can handle long days outdoors to assist in field and laboratory experiments. Positions are usually for three months. This is also a great opportunity to get research experience in marine ecology. Please contact me if you are interested in a field assistant position.
I welcome applications by postdoctoral researchers. I have current funding for one two-year postdoctoral position, and I am willing to work with independent, motivated researchers to develop grant proposals and projects in my lab at the University of Adelaide.