Potential Positions in the Fletcher Lab


Graduate student openings:

We have 1 new Ph.D. student opening for Fall 2017 in Experimental Landscape Ecology. We are seeking a highly motivated Ph.D. student to start at the University of Florida in Fall 2017. This student will work as part of a collaborative research group on a project investigating the role of on habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and matrix quality on the population and community dynamics of insect herbivores. The project includes field work at the nearby Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (http://www.osbs.ufl.edu), including experiments manipulating habitat and matrix types, using prickly-pear cactus and their associated species as a model system (see, e.g., Fletcher et al. 2011, 2013, 2014). The project includes four years of full support for the student (approximately $22,500/year, plus health benefits), funds for field work, and support for some travel to meetings. An additional year of support may be available to outstanding candidates from the graduate program via which the student matriculates (see below).

The student will be co-advised by Dr. Robert Fletcher and Dr. Emilio Bruna (http://brunalab.org/). Other collaborators on the project include Dr. Bob Holt (http://people.clas.ufl.edu/rdholt/) and Dr. Brian Reichert. Preferred applicants will be highly motivated and have a background in ecology, entomology, or other relevant field, field experience, strong quantitative skills (preferably in population or spatial ecology), and an ability to work well both independently and with as part of a diverse team. Interested students should send a (1) a letter of interest describing your educational background,  research experience, and career goals, (2) a Curriculum Vitae that includes GRE and TOEFL/TSE scores (if relevant) and GPA (3) an unofficial copy of transcripts and (4) contact information for three references by email to Dr. Robert Fletcher (email: robert.fletcher@ufl.edu).  The deadline for submitting materials for review is February 1, 2017.  Interested applicants should also apply to the Graduate Programs in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (http://www.wec.ufl.edu/grad) and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment (http://snre.ufl.edu), both of which accommodate students studying a broad diversity of topics in ecology and conservation. Students to these programs may also apply for an additional year of stipend and tuition support.

I have 1 new M.S. student opening for Fall 2017. This student will work as part of a landscape-scale research project on the spatial ecology, population biology, and conservation of Southeastern American Kestrels (Falco sparverius paulus). In Florida, kestrels are listed as Threatened, but the current trend and status are largely unknown. The subspecies is closely tied to upland habitat (e.g., scrub, sand pine, sandhill, prairie, pasture), which have been declining in recent decades. The project offers a unique opportunity to work alongside state biologists and University faculty to conduct research that will directly inform development of habitat management guidelines (HMG) for a Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

The project has three primary objectives. However, students with strong initiative and desire to carve out their own research questions within this theme are highly encouraged to apply.

Objective 1. Provide a current baseline population estimate and subsequent monitoring protocol for Ocala National Forest, one of the three largest breeding populations of southeastern American kestrels in Florida.
Objective 2. Develop HMG for southeastern American kestrels in scrub based on occupancy and productivity in different habitat conditions.
Objective 3. Identify common habitat needs as well as potential conflicts associated with managing Florida scrub-jays and other imperiled species in southeastern American kestrel habitat.

The student will be co-advised by Robert Fletcher (UF) and Karl Miller (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). Preferred applicants will be highly motivated, have field experience conducting avian point counts, have strong quantitative skills, and competitive GPA/GRE scores. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree on this project, please send Dr. Fletcher a CV, GRE scores and GPA, contact information for three references, and a brief statement of your research interests, career goals, and why you would like to pursue a graduate degree prior to November 18, 2016 (email to: robert.fletcher@ufl.edu). Please see the WEC Graduate Program website for more details on application procedures. Also consult the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at UF for other opportunities regarding graduate admission.

General thoughts on graduate students

In general, I expect that students in my lab will hold common interests in ecology and conservation, with strong appreciation for integrating other fields, such as evolutionary biology and statistics, into their research and development as biologist. I will consider advising students on a wide range of topics, including research on landscape ecology, animal behavior, population dynamics, quantitative modeling, avian ecology, and conservation.

If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree with me as your advisor, I would highly recommend pursuing the publications from my lab to determine if and how our work interests you. Please send me a CV, GRE scores and GPA, and a brief statement of your research interests, career goals, and why you would like to pursue a graduate degree in my lab.  For admission to the department, general minimal requirements for GPA are 3.2 for upper division undergraduate coursework, 3.2 for any graduate coursework, and preferred GRE scores of at least 1200 (Q + V; for new scores, >50% percentile in V and Q). If English is not your native language, a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper based; 213 computer based) is necessary.  Yet I emphasize that these are minimum requirments.

Please see the WEC Graduate Program for more details on WEC admissions requirements and application procedures for the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Note that applicants for the PhD program should have a Master’s degree in ecology or related field and have worked with ecological data as part of that degree or in another professional capacity. Applicants for the MS program should have a related undergraduate degree with substantial research experience. Also consult the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at UF for other opportunities reagarding graduate admission. Although we have a rolling application deadline, most UF funding is allocated by February for the following fall semester. Other avenues for fellowships include the National Science Foundation and the EPA Star Fellowships Program.

Undergraduate research positions:

I occassionally have openings for motivated undergraduate students that want to gain valuable research experience, including both field experience and computer experience (e.g., GIS skills). But, I expect undergraduates to be very committed to their work in my lab. If you are interested in gaining research experience relevant to the work in our lab, please send me a resume, 2-3 names of references, your current GPA, and a brief statement of why you would like to work in my lab.