The College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, or CFWE, research faculty actively seek undergraduate students to assist with the college’s diverse research programs. Research opportunities are included in the below directory which is updated frequently, but may not be inclusive of all opportunities. Conversely, listed positions may not be active but are included as a form of reference.  If interested, please inquire with the advising faculty member to confirm openings. For other opportunities that may not be posted, please consult with a faculty member most aligned with your research interests.

Though not required for CFWE undergraduate research opportunities, fellowships can assist students with anticipated expenses related to achieving their research objectives.  To be considered for an undergraduate research fellowship, visit the Office of Undergraduate Research to learn more about eligibility and application requirements.

Population and Conservation Genetics Lab - Field and Lab Work

We are interested in hiring undergraduate researchers to help us understand how populations can evolve and respond to environmental changes. Our work focuses on a variety of species, including banner tailed kangaroo rats, mosquitos, caribou, loblolly pine, and various pathogenic species. We have positions available to support on-going graduate work in the field and in the lab, and all students will have the opportunity to work towards earning co-authorship on papers written by graduate students in the lab. To express interest, please complete the form linked below or get in touch with Dr. Willoughby with any questions.

Forest Economics Lab - Data Research and Analysis

Timberland Investment – Data Research and Analysis

Undergraduate students participating in this research project will focus on the two timberland investment vehicles (publicly traded timberland REITs and privately-held NECRIT timberland index) and forest industry stocks, compared with other investment vehicles (such as general stocks, bonds, and real estate). They will extract price and return data from a database, analyze them, and present their results. They will also have an opportunity to seek insights on timberland valuation based on the recent timberland transaction data. One or two undergraduate students with good quantitative analysis skills are needed. Students with a finance background are desirable.

Foreign Direct Investment in Forest Industry – Data Research and Analysis

Undergraduate students participating in this research project will focus on U.S. and Canadian inward and outward foreign direct investment in the forest industry. They will extract data from a couple of databases, analyze them, and present their results. They will also have an opportunity to investigate the rising Canadian ownership of sawmills in the U.S. One or two undergraduate students with good qualitative and quantitative analysis skills are needed. Students with forestry or forest industry backgrounds is desirable.

Contact: Dr. Daowei Zhang at

Climate, Water, and Society Lab - Data Science and Modeling

Environmental Data Science – working with heterogenous data including land, Water, and atmosphere; data cleaning and formatting, multi-dimensional data, trend analysis, and hypothesis development, python programming.

Climate Modeling – Designing and running climate modeling experiments using the Community Earth System Model and it’s land component Community Land Model. Analysis of climate model data, including CMIP6, for hypothesis testing and climate change projections.

Contact: Dr. Sanjiv Kumar at

Forest Health Dynamics Lab - Field Research and Data Analysis

  1. Effects of climate variables on fungal spore distribution and abundance: Brown spot needle blight is an emerging disease in loblolly pine caused by the fungus Lecanosticta acicola. We are interested in looking at spore production, distribution, and abundance across the State of Alabama. Student will be construct, deploy, and collect spore traps, identify and count spores, and analyze data. Travel to field sites is required. Must be able to drive a university vehicle. Contact Dr. Eckhardt for more information at
  2. Effects of brown spot needle blight on insect diversity: Brown spot needle blight is an emerging disease in loblolly pine caused by the fungus Lecanosticta acicola. We are interested in looking to see if there is an insect population shift (more pest insects) in stands that are infected with brown spot needle blight. The student will deploy and monitor insect traps, identify and catalog insects, and analyze data. Travel to field sites is required. Must be able to drive a university vehicle. Contact Dr. Eckhardt for more information at

Geospatial Analytics Lab - Field, UAV/Drone Data Collection, Processing and Analysis

Our work involves synergistic use of Earth Observation data to better understand, characterize, and monitor ecosystems at multiple spatial scales. We have undergraduate research opportunities for field data collection (travel to forested sites required) using Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)/drones and analysis of UAV-derived imagery high-density lidar for studying forest pathogens, and the acquisition, processing, and analysis of airborne and spaceborne datasets. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to applications using image-based and lidar-based technologies, apply innovative methodologies for forestry applications and contribute to the development of manuscripts for potential publication. If interested in undergraduate research opportunities with the Geospatial Analytics Lab, please contact Dr. Lana Narine at LLN0005@AUBURN.EDU.

Conservation Governance Lab - Data Collection and Analysis

The Conservation Governance Lab is looking for undergraduate researchers specializing in public policy with an interest in natural resources, wildlife, ecosystem management, or similar topics. The lab is centered around the social sciences and focuses on the previously mentioned topics. Some of the research currently being done includes coastal and ocean policy in the United States, chronic wasting disease (CWD) and hunter’s knowledge and perceptions, coral reef management and policy, big game management in southern sub-Saharan Africa, and new research on turtles, dolphins, and oysters will be starting in January.  

Students will collect policy documents from various government websites, Congressional testimony/hearings, and news articles and analyze them following social science methods. Students may also assist with analyzing survey results of ongoing graduate research. If interested, contact Dr. Kelly Dunning at

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation - Multiple Projects

Ecology and Conservation Projects:

  1. Hawaii camera trap image analysis. Assist with evaluating game camera photos of native and non-native wildlife on Kauai.
  2. Social survey of veterinarians related to cat health. Develop a contact list of veterinarians and then administer a social survey online, followed by analyzing the survey data.
  3. Comparing snake monitoring methods. Assist with using traditional versus modern methods of surveying snakes.
  4. SNAPSHOT USA analysis of game camera data across the US. Using a national game camera database from the past 5 years, students can evaluate a variety of questions about mammal occurrences and co-occurrences, including the overlap of cats and foxes.
  5. Fire ant-related project. Currently working to expand the evaluation of red-imported fire ants on wildlife, changes in ant diversity, and ways to control ants.
  6. Landowner surveys of urban yard and wildlife management. Develop and carryout surveys of residents in Auburn and Opelika related to how they manage their property for wildlife.
  7. GIS/landscape analysis of invasive and endangered species. Evaluate the spatial overlap of these two groups of species at different spatial scales. Students need to have experience in GIS and remote sensing.
  8. Comparing yard management options related to wildlife. Evaluate landowner approaches to managing wildlife.
  9. Dog diet evaluation. Assist a current student in a structured review of a free-ranging dog diet.

The projects will work with Drs. Lepczyk, Fantle-Lepczyk, and Gitzen depending on the exact project. Students are encouraged to apply for undergraduate research fellowships as well as use projects (or develop their own) for Honors Theses. All students are encouraged to present research at local and national scientific meetings and write up the research findings for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Students can also enroll for undergraduate research credits as part of the experience. Interested students should email (1) a brief letter of interest and which project(s) they would like to work on, (2) a resume or CV, (3) an unofficial copy of transcripts, and (4) available work hours during the spring semester to If you have questions, please email Dr. Lepczyk.

Wetland and Riparian Ecology Lab - Field and Lab Work

Undergraduate students are sought to participate in ongoing coastal wetland studies with the Anderson Wetland and Riparian Ecology Lab ( Students will work with other undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research on wetland functions (e.g., habitat, nutrient cycling, water storage) in response to land use change and other anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Students have the potential to gain field and lab experience while learning about important and fascinating wetland systems along the Gulf coast.

Students can email Dr. Chris Anderson ( for more information and to discuss research interests.

Nongame and Nuisance Wildlife Lab – Field Work

Snake Mark-Recapture – Students will work to deploy coverboards and regularly check coverboard arrays on university-owned land near campus. Snakes will be captured, measured, permanently marked, and released as part of the newly initiated long-term mark-recapture project.

Students who are interested in nongame wildlife management and conservation, nuisance wildlife management, or citizen science through iNaturalist are encouraged to reach out and work to develop their own independent research projects.

Contact: Dr. Wesley Anderson at

Forest and Fire Ecology Lab - Field Work, Data Entry and Processing

We are interested in hiring enthusiastic students who are willing and able to help with field and lab work related to forest fire ecology. We work at field sites locally and around the southeast to better understand feedbacks between forest composition, structure, function, and fire behavior through observational and experimental studies. All undergraduate research assistants will have the opportunity to work with graduate students, attend weekly lab meetings, and develop independent research projects if desired. If interested, please contact Dr. Alexander at

Deer Lab - Live Animal Capture and Data Collection

Auburn’s deer research program provides opportunities for undergraduates to get valuable experience with capturing and handling large mammals. Undergraduates who volunteer with the Auburn DeerLab will dart white-tailed deer at the captive facility in Camp Hill, AL. In addition to using a dart gun equipped with a night-vision scope, volunteers will participate in data collection activities, including drawing blood, enumerating ectoparasites, and collecting body and antler measurements. Contact Dr. Stephen Ditchkoff to inquire about volunteering at