Positions Available

Position: Graduate Student Research Assistant in Fisheries Ecology / Biophysical Economics (Ph.D. preferred, exceptional student considered for MS), starting May 2022

Project background: Human population growth is on a collision course with biophysical limits of Planet Earth and economic limits of modern capitalism, but current systemic structure and ways of thinking are incapable of correctly identifying and responding to these existential crises. This has motivated some people to plan for a future of resource scarcity, climate catastrophe, and economic collapse by investing in back-to-the-land activities (sustenance fishing, hunting, homesteading, etc.) to build resilience and achieve some level of sustainability. But are these intelligent responses to achieve a “prosperous way down”, or just feel-good activities with little chance of success? This research project seeks to find out! Applicants can learn more by watching this presentation

Responsibilities: Graduate student will contribute to an existing research project and also expand its scope according to their skills and interests. The project’s primary focus is to evaluate productive capacity of Maine’s freshwater fisheries, along with harvest capacity of anglers, to meet sustenance needs during times of economic and ecological crises. The student will combine “traditional” fisheries science approaches such as age-and-growth analysis and energy-flow ecosystem modeling with biophysical economic analysis to quantify profitability of sustenance angling and assess its potential for helping meet long-term and large-scale sustainability goals. Secondary focal projects would apply similar approaches towards evaluating other sustenance activities common in rural Maine such as hunting, firewood harvesting, maple syruping, gardening, etc. The student will take advantage of existing data sets (e.g., otoliths from 5,000+ angled fish) but also collect their own data from nearby field sites. This project will require field work, lab work, computer analysis/modeling, grant writing, and serving as Teaching Assistant for undergraduate ecology-based classes.

Qualifications: Applicants should hold M.S. or equivalent degree in an ecology-related discipline (exceptional students possessing B.S. or equivalent will be considered); meet minimum Departmental standards of GPA and GRE; have demonstrated achievement in relevant coursework, skills, or experience in fisheries ecology, ecosystems ecology, and/or biophysical economics; have demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively and think critically.

Compensation: This position is supported by a Graduate Assistantship through the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station (MAFES), which includes an annual stipend of ~ $20,000, tuition waiver, ½ health insurance coverage, and a small operating budget. The student will be expected to help pursue additional funding opportunities by writing grants and seeking collaborators.

Timeline: Review of applications will begin immediately, competitive candidates will be selected for interviews by around 1 February 2022, the final offer will be made by around 15 March 2022, and the position will start around 15 May 2022.

Application: Candidates should email a statement of interest/qualifications, CV, unofficial transcripts, and contact information for 3 references to Steve Coghlan, Associate Professor of Freshwater Fisheries Ecology, at Stephen.coghlan@maine.edu, with the subject header “Graduate Application”


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updated 10/15/2021