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Research Assistantships and Other Positions

The College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment research faculty actively recruit graduate candidates to assist with their diverse research programs. Available positions are included in the below directory, which is updated frequently but may not include all opportunities.

For other opportunities not posted, please consult with a faculty member most aligned with your research interests or inquire with Audrey Grindle, Graduate Student Coordinator, for further guidance at 334-844-9250 or Future students may also wish to consult the Texas A&M Jobs Board for positions that may not yet be included within the college’s directory.

The College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment at Auburn University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Educational Institution.

Ph. D. Position- White-tailed Deer Integrated Population Modeling

We are seeking a PhD student to join our team of researchers at Auburn University’s College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. We are partnering with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) to develop a modeling, monitoring, and decision-analysis framework for improving deer population management throughout the state of Alabama.

The student will be responsible for:

1. Developing and evaluating integrated population modeling approaches to improve deer population estimates by incorporating supplemental data sources (e.g., citizen science data or roadkill reports) with traditional data sources (e.g., game check data and hunter surveys);

2. Comparing agent-based and matrix-based models for assessing population changes;

3. Designing decision scenarios and assessing the the tradeoffs of alternative modeling approaches for making informed decisions under these scenarios;

4. Developing a decision support tool for ADCNR to inform deer management at local and state-wide scales.

In a nutshell, we are looking to develop creative, ecologically sound, and scientifically defensible approaches for quantifying deer distributions, population dynamics, and management objectives. The student will be co-advised by Dr. Jonathon Valente ( and Dr. Aniruddha Belsare ( The position is fully funded for up to 5 years, including a ~$30,000 annual stipend, tuition waiver, and subsidized health insurance. The student will be free to develop their own dissertation within the scope of the project, and under the agreement that they will meet the primary objectives outlined above and in the project proposal. Ideally, the student will begin in the fall semester (August 2024) but start dates may be flexible for the appropriate candidate. Prospective candidates should be highly motivated, interested in developing computer-based modeling skills, and have a strong background in ecology, biology, zoology, wildlife, population modeling, or a related field.

Required qualifications

· MS degree in Wildlife, Biology, Ecology, Zoology, Statistics, or another closely related field

· Strong communication skills in oral and written English

· Ability to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team

· Self-motivation, a positive attitude, and strong interpersonal skills

Desired qualifications

· Experience presenting and publishing peer-reviewed research

· Experience working with government agencies

· Experience with population modeling, species distribution modeling, Bayesian data analysis, GIS software, and the R statistical programming language

To apply, email BOTH Dr. Jonathon Valente ( and Dr. Aniruddha Belsare ( with the subject line “Deer Population PhD.” Combine the following into a single PDF and attach it to your email: (1) a cover letter that states why you are interested in and qualified for the position; (2) a CV; (3) unofficial transcripts; (4) contact information for 3 references; and (5) TOFEL scores if applicable. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and continue until suitable candidates are found. Please feel free to email Dr. Valente or Dr. Belsare with any specific questions in the meantime. More information about our graduate program can be found here: 

M.S./Ph. D. Alabama (Forestry Biotechnology Lab)


Application Deadline: 05/26/2024
Published: 09/09/2023
Starting Date: 8/20/2024
Salary: unspecified
Education Required: Bachelors
Location: Auburn, Alabama 
Tags: Graduate Opportunities


The Hao Chen lab at Auburn University is inviting motivated Master and PhD applicants to join the new forestry biotechnology lab. Full scholarships will be provided to PhD students.

You will have the opportunity to engage with three major research projects: 1. Understanding the myths of the controlling mechanisms how plant transcriptionally synthesize secondary cell wall and use genetic engineering methods to improve wood property used for pulp, paper, and biofuel industries. 2. Field trials of genetically engineered trees to measure eco-physiological and economical traits of these trees. 3. Development of new transformation methods for woody species. When you graduate, you will get real-world experiences in forestry molecular biology, genetics, and physiology.

If you are interested, please contact Dr. Chen ( for detailed information.


Admission Requirements: (

Transcripts: One unofficial transcript. Official transcripts will be required upon acceptance to a

Graduate program. GPA: minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Recommendations: 3 recommendations to be submitted through the online application.

Curriculum Vitae.

Test Scores: English Proficiency Requirements: TOEFL 79 (iBT) or IELTS 6.5. The GRE score is not required.

Personal Statement: Please include the following in your personal statement (maximum 1000

words): Prior research experience(s)-describe research conducted and your role on the project.

Research interests; Career goals

During the review process, a personal interview may be required. All applications for admission to the Ph.D. program will be reviewed by Dr. Hao Chen and his collaborators (M.S. do not need). Admission decisions are made based on an overall evaluation of the applicant’s ability to complete advanced study in forestry genetics, genomics and biotechnology.

SALARY: negotiable

LOCATION: Auburn, Alabama


HaO Chen (preferred contact method)

Other Research Positions

TES Research Technician – Feral Hogs

Learn more and apply online.

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