Thank you for your interest in joining the Prugh lab! I encourage prospective students who are fascinated by the natural world, have a passion for wildlife conservation, prior fieldwork experience, and excellent academic records (e.g., GPA >3.5, GREs >80th percentiles) to contact me. Applicants need a MSc to apply for the PhD program. Exceptional applicants with BS degrees may be considered (e.g., first-author publication, excellent academic record, and field experience). The SEFS deadline for applications is December 1 each year. I am especially interested in applicants with previous winter fieldwork and carnivore handling experience.
I am specifically looking to take on a mature, experienced PhD student for my NSF-funded mesocarnivore research project in Washington (see “Research” page for more details). Wolves and cougars may affect mesocarnivores negatively through killing and aggression, as well as positively by providing carrion food subsidies. The broad goal of this project is to quantify these positive and negative interactions in an integrative framework. This study is part of a large collaborative multi-predator, multi-prey study that began in 2017 (see the new project website!). The student will work closely with other PhD students, professors (Aaron Wirsing and Beth Gardner), and biologists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Although the broad goals for this study have been determined, there is considerable flexibility in terms of specific questions that could be addressed. The project will require intensive year-round fieldwork, involving capture and GPS collaring of coyotes and bobcats, scat collection (for fecal genotyping and diet), and monitoring scavenging at ungulate carcasses using cameras. A variety of quantitative approaches could be used to analyze the data (e.g., spatial CMR, movement, behavior, demography). Collaborators are collaring cougars, wolves, elk, mule deer, and white tailed deer in the same areas, providing the opportunity to examine species interactions in unprecedented detail.
If you are interested in this project, please email me with a cover letter describing your interests and qualifications, and attach your CV and undergraduate transcripts. Please provide your GRE percentiles (NOT raw scores) and undergraduate GPA in your cover letter.