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Post-doctoral Research Fellow; Chinese Giant Salamander Ecology

Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, United States
Employer Description

Mississippi State University is ranked as one of the top research institutions in the United States. The Carnegie Institute has designated MSU as a "higher research activity" doctoral granting institution. We are also ranked among the nation's top 100 research institutions based on the most recent National Science Foundation survey. The 35-member faculty within the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture ( leads one of the most productive research programs in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University.  The department is well-known for its highly collegial and interdisciplinary faculty, post-doctoral fellows, research and extension associates that help make the department one of the premier institutions for applied wildlife and fisheries science in the nation.  As one of the fastest growing undergraduate programs in the region, our 300 undergraduate students concentrate in wildlife agriculture science, human-wildlife interactions, conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, conservation law enforcement, and wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture science.  The department also houses 60 graduate students across a variety of programs, with nearly 100% job placement rate following receipt of a graduate degree.  Located in Starkville, MS, Mississippi State is the centerpiece of a growing college town with a vibrant and diverse community and economy, a low cost-of-living, main street family atmosphere and connections to over a hundred thousand acres of national forests, national wildlife refuges, and state recreational lands.  For more information on the Starkville community visit:

Job Description

The department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture (WFA) seeks a dynamic scholar, communicator and educator interested in working on the reintroduction ecology of Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus). In particular, we seek someone with expertise in one or more of the following areas: spatial ecology, movement ecology, trophic dynamics, species distribution/demographics, niche modeling, environmental DNA, or molecular genetics.

This 2-3 year position is on the MSU campus, located in Starkville, Mississippi. A description of the department can be found at The position will also include extended stays in China (several months at a time) to work on the project.

 The candidate will be responsible for conducting molecular genetics to: 1) understand the population structure where the releases will occur, so that the proper source population can be selected; 2) sample river areas in several China nature reserves using eDNA to understand native population persistence. Furthermore, the candidate will select and monitor, with the assistance of field technicians, released animals using radio transmitters and monitor survival, habitat selection, spatial and temporal movement. Additional studies on the giant salamanders are available that the applicant may be interested in conducting (e.g. reproductive physiology, behavioral ecology, and predator-prey dynamics). The position will be a mix of field work and laboratory work.

In addition, the applicant will be responsible for maintaining appropriate records and databases; effective mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students; guest lecturing in the department; publication of research in peer-reviewed manuscripts; gain experience writing and submitting grants; design and data management including statistical analysis; producing periodic progress reports and financial statements on the research program; interface with other team members around the country; present research findings both nationally or internationally; perform other related duties as assigned to support the amphibian conservation lab’s mission in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the program.

Job Requirements

Qualifications: Ph.D. with expertise in wildlife/fisheries ecology, biology, zoology and/or related discipline. Excellence in communication and organizational skills; peer-reviewed publication history; and a commitment to service are expected. The candidate should show the ability to collaborate with diverse scientific disciplines, various stakeholder groups, academic institutions and federal and state natural resource agencies to support long-term partnerships.

Preferred qualifications: Preferred characteristics include experience with GIS, radio transmitters, spatial ecology programs and software, molecular genetics, procurement of extramural funds to accomplish research, mentoring of graduate students, strong quantitative/statistical skills and some teaching experience. Inclination will be given to candidates whose research naturally crosses disciplinary lines and focus on wildlife habitat interactions. All but dissertations (ABD) will be considered but must be completed before hired.

Applications must be submitted online at; position (PARF #498476) and should include a 1) cover letter, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) statement of research philosophy, 4) unofficial transcripts, and 5) contact information for 3 references.

For additional information on the position announcement, contact the post-doctoral supervisor Dr. Andy Kouba, Professor and Department Head at Please send him an email, once your application is submitted on-line, to expect the application.

Mississippi State University is an AA/EEO employer  

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.




05 June 2019
05 July 2019