Ph.D. Assistantship studying movement ecology of reintroduced bison in Banff National Park

The Merkle Research Group in collaboration with Banff National Park is looking for a highly motivated, creative, and quantitative Ph.D. student to lead a field-based project studying the movements of reintroduced bison in Banff National Park. Although the successful applicant will be admitted through the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming and will be based in Laramie, Wyoming (USA), all field work will be conducted in Banff National Park (Canada).

The goals of the research project will be to make fundamental contributions to the field of movement ecology while also providing reliable knowledge to manage and conserve bison. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to shape the specific research questions within the following topics: 1) home range formation by bison in a novel environment; 2) the influence of prescribed burns, hazing, and containment fencing on bison movement; and iii) the influence of social status and sociality on space use of bison.

Candidates must have a B.S. and preferably a M.S. degree in Ecology, Biology, Wildlife, or related fields. Applicants must have an excellent undergraduate GPA and competitive GRE scores. Applicants must also have a demonstrated ability to work independently and with a team in harsh field conditions. Field work will require backpacking and hiking off trail in stochastic field conditions at high elevations in sometimes extremely steep terrain. Applicants with experience managing and analyzing large datasets (including remote sensing data) in program R or Python, and publishing research will be favored. Successful applicants will be expected to participate in a team environment, work closely with a large field crew, present results at professional conferences, and publish results in a timely manner in peer-reviewed scientific outlets.

A competitive graduate assistantship will be provided, which includes annual stipend, tuition, and benefits. To apply, please email a SINGLE PDF file that includes 1) a cover letter outlining field and quantitative experience and interest in studying animal movement, 2) a CV, 3) unofficial GRE score sheet, 4) contact information for three references, and 5) transcripts to Jerod Merkle ( and Jesse Whittington ( Review of applicants will begin 25 February 2019. The successful applicant will start in autumn 2019.