Grad student positions

MS Opportunity on White-faced Ibis

The Avian Science Center, part of the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana (UM), invites MS applicants to participate in research that aids in identifying conservation actions for White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi). The main identified threats for this species involve modified hydrology and decreasing quantity and quality of wetland habitats used by these birds. Overarching goals of the research project are to: 1) identify long-term trends to ibis breeding wetland habitat availability, 2) determine population reliance on public and private wetland resources, and 3) identify landscape features needed to sustain breeding ibis colonies. Successful applicant will examine spatio-temporal patterns in wetland dynamics as they relate to ibis breeding colonies across the Intermountain West. The position requires a high level of interest in quantitative and spatial ecology to inform how changes in landscape features over 30 years influences current distributions of ibis.  The student will work with existing datasets, including compiling data on both landscape features and ibis from multiple data sources. There is no fieldwork aspect of the project.

The position is part of an existing ASC partnership with Patrick Donnelly, spatial ecologist with the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV), with whom the student will work in close collaboration. The project is part of a larger partnership between ASC, IWJV, and numerous state/federal agencies and non-governmental conservation partners.  Anticipated start date is no later than Spring 2019.


Applicant must have a minimum of BS/BA in wildlife biology, biology, ecology, statistics, or a related field.  Strong quantitative skills and programming experience in R (or a large desire to learn these skills) is highly preferred. The position requires decision-making and communication skills and the ability to work with multiple natural resource stakeholders.

 How to apply: 

Interested individuals should email Dr. Victoria J. Dreitz ( the following information as a single attached file (pdf is preferred) with “MS Ibis” in the subject line.  Applications will be reviewed upon receipt until the position is filled: 

  • Cover letter outlining research interests, academic and professional background
  • Resume/CV
  • Copies of transcripts and GRE scores (unofficial copies acceptable at this point)
  • Names and contact information for 3 references.

Only individuals who meet the suggested minimum requirements for a MS student in the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana will be considered (see the Wildlife Biology website for specific details including suggested minimum requirements).