Masters Position: Pinyon-Juniper Woodland Dynamics, Univ Nevada-Reno

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno has available a graduate (M.S.) research assistantship position to study forest dynamics and landscape change in pinyon-juniper woodlands, housed in the Great Basin Landscape Ecology Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Weisberg. The project involves resampling of permanent plots in singleleaf pinyon pine and Utah juniper woodlands. Study plots are scattered throughout eleven mountain ranges in central Nevada and encompass a gradient of stand ages from recently established to old growth.

The M.S. student will develop a research project addressing fundamental questions concerning stand development processes of semi-arid woodlands, while providing valuable information for natural resource managers on woodland expansion, woodland dieback and drought responses, and fuel succession. Field sampling will include surveys of overstory and understory vegetation, tree vigor and mortality, tree seedling regeneration, and fuel conditions. GIS and spatial modeling tools will be used to scale up field data to broad regional extents.

For more information about the project, contact: Peter Weisberg pweisberg@cabnr.unr.ed

Desired Qualifications:

  • Intellectually curious, academically capable and scientifically motivated.
  • B.S. degree in a relevant field of study (e.g. Ecology, Biology, Natural Resources, Forestry, Geography, Range Science/Management).
  • Minimum academic requirements are a GPA of 3.4 and a combined GRE score of 310.
  • Experience conducting ecological field research, preferably including vegetation sampling.
  • Experience or coursework in GIS applications and spatial analysis.
  • Comfortable with field work in sometimes harsh conditions, generally far from civilization, as part of a small field crew. Able to hike moderate distances in rugged terrain while carrying field sampling equipment.
  • Comfortable driving a 4WD truck on rough roads.

Preferred Start Date: August 2014 (a January 2015 start is possible)

The assistantship includes a graduate  stipend of $21,600/year ($1800 per month for a 12-month contract), a waiver of non-resident tuition fees, and includes health insurance benefits.

Additional information on graduate study at the University of Nevada – Reno can be found here. Additional information on the Natural Resources and Environmental Science Department, including its graduate programs can be found here.

To Apply: Your application should include a cover letter describing research interests and career goals, a resume or CV, unofficial copies of transcripts and GRE scores and contact information for three references. These materials should be sent to Dr, Peter Weisberg at

Deadline: Applications received by April 1, 2014 will receive full consideration. Suitable candiddates will then be encouraged to submit a formal application to the Graduate School.

The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action in recruitment of its students and employees and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical or mental disability, and sexual orientation.

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