Ernest Lab Ph.D opening at University of Florida

So here it is, the first of the positions we’ll be advertizing as part of our move to the University of Florida. The official ad is below, but a few comments first. The position is for a student to work with me, but for those who aren’t really familiar with our groups, it’s important to note that my group works closely with Ethan White’s lab (we provide desk space that mixes the labs together, we have a single group lab meeting,  etc). My group tends to attract people who like to do field work. Ethan’s tends to attract people who are more quantitatively or computationally inclined. We mix our groups because we believe that the divide that exists between quantitative and field-based approaches to ecology is bad for our science and that we need more people trained to serve as bridges between the quantitative and field-oriented worlds of ecology.

Here are some links to the papers my students have published from their dissertations to get a feel for what my students have intellectually gotten out of this environment:

Supp & Ernest (2014) Species-level and community-level responses to disturbance: a cross-community analysis

The support for this student position is a Research Assistantship earmarked to help with data collection on plants and rodents at my field site. You can find out more about the site from its webpage and blog. If you want to know specifically what questions we’re going to be using the field site to address over the next few years, I’ve posted the NSF preproposal for the funded project. While this is the project that will pay the salary, I believe that an important part of training young scientists is giving them the freedom to explore their own ideas, so prospective students shouldn’t feel limited by what’s in the proposal. Both of those students whose papers I’ve highlighted above were in charge of the fieldwork at the site in Arizona. They used their experience at the site (and the almost 40 years of data we have from this system on plants, rodents, and climate) as a crucible for developing and initially exploring the ideas they ended up publishing.
Ok, with that out of the way, here’s the ad:


The Ernest Lab at the University of Florida has an opening for a Ph.D student in the area of Community Ecology to start fall 2015. The student will be supported as a graduate research assistant as part of an NSF-funded project at a long-term research site ( in southeastern Arizona to study regime shifts (rapid shifts in ecosystem structure and function). This position will participate in data collection efforts in Arizona on rodents and plants.

The Ernest lab is interested in general questions about the processes that structure communities, with a particular focus on understanding how ecological communities change through time. Students are free to develop their own research projects depending on their interests.

The Ernest Lab is currently at Utah State University, but is moving to the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida starting summer 2015.

More information about the lab is available at:

Interested students should contact Dr. Morgan Ernest ( by Nov 15th, 2014 with their CV, GRE scores, and a brief statement of research interests.

2 Comments on “Ernest Lab Ph.D opening at University of Florida

  1. Pingback: PhD position, Community Ecology, Ernest Lab, U. Florida | ucalgarygeography

  2. Pingback: White Lab PhD openings at the University of Florida | Jabberwocky Ecology | The Weecology Blog

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