The McIntyre research group at Cornell University is seeking a new M.S. student to study the ecosystem consequences of restoring fish migrations into tributaries of the Great Lakes. The project, funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, will focus on nutrient and energy dynamics in Michigan’s Boardman River, where an innovative approach to selective passage of migratory fish is being developed.
Fish migrations inject nutrients into Great Lakes tributaries, helping to fertilize river food webs. As dams and impassable culverts are removed to restore migration corridors, we often assume that the entire ecosystem will benefit, including boosting the growth of game fish. This study will test that assumption as native migratory species regain access to the middle and upper reaches of the Boardman River. Working with a team of academic and agency partners, we will assess nutrient and carbon processing using bioassays and chemical tracers. We are particularly interested in whether fish movements help to explain spatiotemporal variation stream ecosystem processes.
The ideal candidate will have experience in stream ecology or biogeochemical research, as well as general interests in fisheries, landscape ecology, and ecosystem restoration. We will especially favor candidates who are familiar with methods of quantifying aquatic ecosystem processes (GPP, ER, nutrient spiraling, energy flow through food webs, etc.). Considerable field work in Michigan will be required, and excellent communication (oral and written) skills are a necessity. The project will provide abundant experience in collaborative research that spans conceptual and methodological boundaries. We are looking for a team member who will thrive working closely with Cornell PIs, agency partners, and other academic researchers.
The desired start-date is Summer 2021, and paid field work may begin even earlier. However, the application deadline for the M.S. program in Natural Resources & Environment is 1 December 2020. A competitive stipend and benefits package will be provided, involving a mixture of teaching and research assistantships. Residence in Ithaca, NY is expected, but regular travel to Traverse City, Michigan will be necessary for field work (while fully adhering to COVID-related advisories and requirements). The top candidate will be welcomed into Cornell’s vibrant community of scholars addressing global change and sustainability science, which spans more than a dozen departments and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.
We welcome inquiries and questions about this opportunity. To initiate the application process, please submit a brief letter of interest, a resume/CV, and a writing sample as soon as possible. These materials should be sent to both Pete McIntyre ([email protected]) and Greg Jacobs ([email protected]), using the subject line “GLFC MS position”. Screening will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. We will encourage strong candidates to apply formally for admission to the graduate field of Natural Resources, adhering to the 1 December 2020 application deadline.
The McIntyre group, the Department of Natural Resources & Environment, and Cornell University welcome candidates of all backgrounds. We value, respect, and defend human diversity (gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, language, identity), and we work collaboratively with partners from all sectors to conserve diversity in the natural world.