PhD Opportunity: Antarctic food web response to historic harvesting and climate change

Seeking a highly motivated student to begin graduate research (Ph.D. candidate) at Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (DOCS) in the fall of 2015. The student will join a multi-institution team of researchers from LSU, UC Santa Cruz, UNC Wilmington and the University of Saskatchewan on a multi disciplinary, collaborative project to reconstruct shifts in Antarctic food web architecture following historic harvesting and recent to millennial-scale climate change.

The student will be based in the Polito Lab at LSU ( but will also work closely with Dr.
Kelton McMahon and Dr. Matthew McCarthy at UC Santa Cruz (  Specifically, the student will use bulk and compound-specific stable isotope analysis of modern and ancient penguins and other Antarctic krill predators to test key hypotheses on trophic versus baseline ecosystem shifts related to climate change and competitive release following historic whale and seal harvesting. This position will include extensive laboratory work at LSU and UCSC, as well as field work in Antarctica.

Desired qualifications include: 1) M.S. degree in biology, ecology, marine science, chemistry, or relevant discipline, 2) relevant laboratory experience – sample preparation, gas chromatography, bulk and amino acid based compound-specific stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry, and 3) relevant field experience working on ecological studies in very cold and
remote field settings.

Ph.D. candidates will be considered for 4 years of tuition and stipend
support (approximately $22K/year). In addition, outstanding candidates
(Combined GRE scores > 320 or 1250, GPA > 3.5, excellent references, and/or
strong publication record) who are U.S. citizens will also be considered
for the competitive Louisiana Board of Regents (BoR) Fellowship ($28K/year
+ tuition for 4 years).

To Apply:  Interested candidates should fill out a pre-application form for
the DOCS graduate program (
) and indicate that you would like to work with Dr.
Polito.  In addition, please email a single pdf containing your CV, a cover
letter with your research interests and experience, a brief summary of
accomplishments (educational background, GPA, GRE scores), and contact
information for at least three professional references to Dr. Michael
Polito ( Qualified candidates will be contacted directly
and encouraged to submit a full application to the Ph.D. graduate program
in DOCS. To be fully considered for BoR funding completed applications
should be received by the Graduate School and DOCS by February 15, 2015.