MS Positions: Dendroecology, Humboldt State University

Dr. Harold Zald is seeking 2-3 highly-motivated students interested joining the recently created Forest Measurements and Ecology Lab to pursue an MS degree in Forestry and Wildland Services at Humboldt State University.  Selected students will use dendrochronology (tree-rings) to quantify forest responses to drought stress in the Sierra Nevada and Klamath Ecoregions of California.  Two projects in the Southern Sierra Nevada will take place at Teakettle Experimental Forest, a long-term experiment studying how forest restoration treatments (thinning and prescribed burning) influence forest composition, structure, and function.  Projects at Teakettle will collect and analyze tree-ring data to quantify how restoration treatments influence tree growth, determine if treatments alter tree growth responses to drought stress, and characterize growth patterns between trees that have lived and died during the current California drought.  Additionally, one of the two projects at Teakettle will use carbon stable isotopes to understand fundamental physiological responses of trees to treatments and drought stress.  The student working on tree-ring stable isotopes will be co-advised by Dr. Lucy Kerhoulas at Humboldt State University.  The third project will occur in the Klamath Ecoregion of Northern California, integrating tree-ring data collected in old-growth forests with multi-temporal spectral information from Landsat imagery to validate and map changes in forest productivity over the past three decades.  For additional information regarding all three projects, please see the current projects section of the Forest Measurements and Ecology Lab website.

Minimum and Preferred Qualifications:

Strong candidates for admission to the HSU Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources Graduate Program should have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale for all college and university work, and GRE scores in the top 50th percentile (>152 Verbal, >153 Quantitative, >4 Writing).  Minimum qualifications include a BS degree completed no later than May 2017 in Forestry, Forest Ecology, Ecology, or related fields. Candidates should have prior field experience in forestry and/or ecology, be competent using Excel, and possess a valid driver?s license.

Preferred candidates should have prior experience: identifying tree species of California and/or the Pacific Northwest, collecting and processing tree cores, using global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and conducting statistical analyses using various software (R, Python, SAS, etc.).  Selected students must be able to work independently and in team settings, thrive in adverse field conditions, and be willing to camp for extended periods of time during the field season.

Assistantship Benefits:

MS students will receive a stipend of $17,000 per year for 2-2.5 years. Additional funding may be available to cover tuition, travel, and lodging for 1-2 students to attend the summer 2017 dendro short course at the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

How to Apply:

Applicants are being considered to begin field work in June 2017 and enroll in graduate school fall semester of 2017.  To apply, send the following (as a single PDF or Word Document) to Dr. Harold Zald (

1. A CV (including GPA, GRE scores, prior relevant work experience, complete contact information).

2. A letter of interest (clearly stating your research interests and background).

3. The names and contact information for three references

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until 2-3 potential students have been selected for the positions.  After initial screening, 2-3 students will be asked to submit formal applications through CSUMentor.  The deadline for fall semester admission is February 1st.  Women and applicants from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.  Students who do not have a previous degree in forestry are eligible for admission to the Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources graduate program.  However, students who are admitted may be required to take prerequisite undergraduate forestry courses (e.g. forest mensuration,
silviculture, etc.)

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