Join the lab

MS or PhD assistantship available starting Jan or May 2022

A M.S. or Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship is available at Southern Illinois University to study the distribution and abundance of bird species of conservation concern in southern Illinois. The student’s research focus has some flexibility, but will primarily study non-game bird species (e.g., aerial insectivores) sampled using a combination of point counts and autonomous acoustic recorders; emphasis will be on evaluating the effectiveness of land management practices in the recovery of declining wildlife species. Opportunities exist for the student to develop independent research ideas. The ideal student will have (1) experience conducting point counts in eastern USA, (2) deployed acoustic recorders, and (3) analyzed acoustic data. Students with an interest in applying state-of-the-art quantitative approaches in wildlife conservation are particularly encouraged to apply. The successful applicant is expected to communicate findings to state agencies and other on-going, regional monitoring efforts. The student will earn a M.S. in Forestry or a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences at Southern Illinois University. The preferred start date is Jan 2022, but a May 2022 start date may be negotiated for top candidates.

The successful applicant will have (1) obtained B.S. degree in wildlife, ecology, biology, forestry, zoology, or related fields; (2) knowledge of regional birds by sight and sound and have experience conducting point counts and/or deploying acoustic recorders; (3) exceptional quantitative skills with experience estimating distribution and/or abundance using a variety of data types and models; (4) knowledge of program R and spatial software (e.g., QGIS, ArcGIS); (5) a driver’s license and ability to conduct independent field work in difficult conditions (e.g., steep terrain, poison ivy, ticks, venomous snakes); and (6) strong oral and written communication skills.

To apply please email a single PDF to Dr. Brent Pease ( that includes:

  1. A cover letter that describes past experiences and career goals. Be sure to explicitly state whether you are interested in a Ph.D. or M.S. degree.
  2. Curriculum Vitae (with GPA and GRE scores included)
  3. Undergraduate transcripts (unofficial is acceptable) and/or graduate transcripts (if applicable)
  4. Contact information for 3 references

The email subject should be “(MS or PhD – select one) Species of Conservation Concern”. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. For full consideration, applications must be received by Oct 31, 2021.

Undergraduate students: I am particularly interested in working with motivated undergraduates that are seeking research experience. While I have many projects that you could contribute to, I am open to exploring new ideas with you. Please send me a brief email with your current resume and we can discuss potential projects.

Graduate students: While I wish I could support endless graduate students, I am, of course, limited by available funding. When opportunities are available, I will post them to the Texas A&M Job Board. I welcome general inquiries and may be able to find alternative funding sources for exceptional candidates. I am also open to working to develop competitive fellowship applications. If you think your research interests and career goals align with the direction of our work, please email me a short letter describing your experiences and research interests, along with your CV.

Post-Doctoral Scholars: I am especially interested in working with researchers that have strong quantitative and/or geospatial interests and skills. If you think the lab is a good fit, send me an email describing your interests along with a CV and we can find a time to chat.