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Sunday, December 07, 2008

TweetThis! Graduate Research Assistantship - Soil biology

LUQ LTER, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras

Role of soil organisms on ecosystem processes along an elevational / climatic gradient in Puerto Rico. USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) and the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras Department of Biology

Position available: We seek highly motivated candidates for a MS or PhD graduate student assistantship. The successful applicant will have strong interests in the fields of tropical ecology, soil biology, experimental ecology and ecosystem process studies.

Background: This research is part of an integrated research program of the Luquillo Long Term Ecological Research Program (LUQ LTER; http://luq.lternet.edu/) that seeks to understand how changes in temperature, rainfall, light and wind (climate) along the Luquillo elevation gradient explain variation in biogeochemical processes and biotic structure (http://luq.lternet.edupublicationsprop2006LuquilloLTER4Proposal.pdf).

There are distinct trends in several ecosystem attributes along the elevation
gradient in the Luquillo Mountains. The student will develop a study that seeks to understand the role of soil organisms on wood and litter decay processes along an elevational / climatic gradient (encompassing different forest types) in Puerto Rico. The goal of the study would be to determine how changes in rates of litter and wood decay can be explained by mean annual temperature, rainfall, and / or the presence/absence of particular functional groups of soil organisms.

The student will work under Dr. Grizelle González (USDA Forest Service) and in cooperation with several collaborators in the NSF -funded project. The student will join the IITF Soil Biology Laboratory in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. Degrees will be granted by the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, Dept. of Biology (http://biology.uprrp.edu/graduate_program/index.html).

Applicants should have:
- An academic background in a field of earth, environmental, or ecological science;
- Experience in more than one of the followings: fieldwork, geochemical laboratory analyses, decomposition experiments, identification of soil / litter microarthropods, earthworm research, scientific presentations and writing;
- Motivation to work independently.
Stipend and tuition waiver are available as early as January 2009. We seek a student who could start fieldwork in summer 2009, with possibilities to start coursework by August
2009. We encourage interested students to email as soon as possible to Dr. Grizelle González (ggonzalez@fs.fed.us) for further details, submitting:
- Cover letter summarizing research interests and academic and professional background
- Resume/ CV

- Copies of transcripts (unofficial transcripts acceptable at this point)

- GRE scores, if available

- Names and contact information for three references (no letters needed at this time)

Official applications should be made to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at UPR - Río Piedras Campus (http://biology.uprrp.edugraduate_programinfo_prospective_application_procedure.htm). US-citizens and residents should complete their application no later than January 18, 2009. International students should complete their application no later than December 3, 2008. The Department of Biology reviews the applications in February 1 to admit students in August 2009.

Expires: Mar 1, 2009
More information : http://biology.uprrp.edugraduate_programinfo_prospective_application_procedure.htm

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