Graduate student opportunities 2024

Team Echinacea seeks a MS student who is enthusiastic about getting a jump start on their thesis during the summer 2024 field season before matriculation into the fall 2024 program. This student would be advised by Dr. Wagenius in the Plant Biology and Conservation program at Northwestern University. 

We seek someone who is broadly interested in working on ecology, evolution, or conservation biology of plants or insects in fragmented prairie habitat. The opportunity provides summer funding to conduct fieldwork, lead projects, and build on existing infrastructure to develop a research project at our study site in western Minnesota. 

The questions that motivate Team Echinacea are both applied and fundamental. We ask questions about how we can better conserve prairie plants and pollinators with goals of generating concrete answers for stewards, managers, practitioners, and policymakers. Our project also addresses some very fundamental research questions and contributes to better basic scientific understanding of biological processes. Our lab centers mental health, work-life balance, and values diverse perspectives; we foster a stimulating, supportive atmosphere for lab members to learn from and teach one another. 

Potential Projects include:

  • Effects of prescribed fire on the abundance of floral resources for pollinators
  • Effects of habitat fragmentation on long-lived perennial plants, including porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea)
  • Role of nectar production in pollination biology
  • Effects of hybridization of a non-local species with a local native species.

Requirements Undergraduate degree in relevant field

Desired qualifications Competitive candidates will have training in community ecology, ecosystem ecology, restoration ecology and/or conservation biology. Candidates with strong field experience, evidence of leadership, communication skills, evidence of outreach and collaboration, and dedication to making science more welcoming to underrepresented groups will be viewed favorably.

Application materials and instructions If you are interested in this position please see the PBC website for more information on materials to send to apply and contact Stuart. Applications for the program are due February 15th.

Kristen Manion, NU MS student, graduated 2021
Thesis title: Where do bees build their nests? The influence of land-use history and microhabitat on nest presence of ground-nesting bees
Drake Mullett, current NU PhD student
Dissertation title: The roles that parasitic plants play in
prairie communities
Wyatt Mosiman, current NU MS student
Thesis title: Heritability and selection of fire-stimulated flowering in an herbaceous perennial
Lea Richardson, NU PhD student, graduated 2022
Dissertation title: Investigating impacts of prescribed fire on flowering phenology and reproduction in grassland perennials