PhD and MS Assistanceships: Fire Ecology, Virginia Tech University

J. Morgan Varner is recuirting two graduate students (one Ph.D. and one M.S.) to join the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech beginning either spring 2015 or summer 2015. The students will have some flexibility in specific topics, but the general research areas will fall into one of these three general areas of fire and forest ecology:
1) Mechanisms of altered flammability in eastern US woodlands and forests. The Varner lab has been focused on laboratory-scale flammability of a diversity of species from North America. Current work focuses on understanding differential moisture and litterfall relationships and evaluating lab-based findings in the wild. Interests are focused on oak-hickory ecosystems in north Mississippi and SW Virginia and longleaf pine-oak ecosystems across the southeastern US.
2) Patterns of oak recovery across wildfire severity gradients. The Varner lab has been working on understanding the pathways of California black oak following wildfires in 2002 and a re-burn in 2012 in the southern Cascades of northern California. Current work is evaluating survival of remnant oaks and tracking the effects of multiple fires on oak community composition and structure.
3) The Varner lab has on-going work on the fire ecology of American chestnut, ecology of upland oaks in fire-prone ecosystems, post-fire tree mortality, fire-disease-insect interactions, the ecological consequences of fuels treatments (mostly mastication and prescribed fire) and others that could be pursued.

Requirements: Strong applicants will be creative, have a competitive GPA, GRE scores, and have substantial research experience, in the field and/or laboratory. Applicants for the Ph.D. position will have a strong research background with publications and substantial statistical and/or modeling experience. Education and training in fire ecology, a lack of fear of statistics, and great passion for your work will all help.

To Apply: In your email to Dr. Varner (mvarner@vt.edu ), please include your research interests, a resume/CV with relevant scores, a writing example, and contact information for two references who can speak to your potential as a productive scholar.

Both positions have competitive stipends, tuition waivers, computing, and travel funding. Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, an awesome college town in the Appalachian Mountains with a pleasant climate and vibrant community. The Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation is consistently ranked among the world=92s most outstanding forestry programs. Related departments across Virginia Tech have related expertise in ecology, meteorology, materials flammability, and modeling.

For More Information:
J. Morgan Varner
Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
Virginia Tech
Email: mvarner@vt.edu
Tel. 540-231-4855

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