Potential Positions in the Fletcher Lab


Graduate student openings:

We are not currently looking for new graduate students in the lab.

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.

NEW--REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) position:

The Fletcher Lab at the University of Florida is seeking one undergraduate student interested in wildlife research for an NSF-Funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). This student will work directly with the PI, Ph.D. student, and lead technician to 1.) gain insight and experience into ecology field research and 2.) receive guidance to develop an independent project within the context of ongoing research. The student will also present and participate in discussions at weekly lab meetings, and will be given the opportunity to continue their research throughout their time at the University of Florida.

Project Description: Habitat fragmentation is known to be a widespread threat biodiversity, and understanding its consequences has been a central theme in ecological theory and experiments. Habitat fragments lie within a landscape that varies in structure, biodiversity, capacity for regeneration, and land-use history, all of which can have substantial effects on population and community dynamics. This “matrix” surrounding fragments can influence individuals residing within them, can alter their ability to move to other fragments, and can result in interactions with species tolerant to matrix conditions. Our research aims to understand how the features of the matrix influence populations of fragment dependent species, and to develop novel models and theory which can ultimately be used to predict the connectivity and dynamics of populations and communities within a complex landscape. By experimentally testing prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) and its community of insect herbivores (C. vittiger and N. femorata) using mark-recapture, we are provided with a system within which we can explore these questions in a landscape context. This research provides students with numerous opportunities to ask relevant questions and conduct complementary field and greenhouse experiments to further our understanding of matrix effects.

Schedule and Support: The duration of 2018 field data collection will run from April 1st - October 1st, when species are most active. The successful applicant would be expected to work part-time during the semester (10-15 hours/week) and part to full-time during the summer (~30 hours/week) during the summer. Field work will occur at the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, and primarily involves surveying cacti for marked and unmarked C. vittiger and N. femorata individuals. In addition to mentorship, the participating student will receive a $13 hourly wage. Transportation to Ordway-Swisher will be provided. Room and board are not included.

Eligibility: Must be a Freshman - Junior in standing, U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, have interest in independent field research, be available throughout experimental duration, and have the ability to work as part of a team and in hot weather.Students that are women, underrepresented minorities, veterans , or students with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

Application Process: Applicants must submit the following to hhilfer@ufl.edu on or before March 1, 2018: 1) Curriculum vitae, 2) Current academic record, 3) Letter from academic advisor, and 4) a 500 word essay addressing why you are interested in the project.

Undergraduate research positions (general):

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.