Charney Lab at the University of Maine Orono

ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR FALL 2023, click here to apply

M.S. in Wildlife Ecology or Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Topic: Using Citizen Science to Map Amphibian Road Crossings in Acadia National Park

Project Background: This position will be funded by a grant from the National Park Service. Roadway mortality poses a substantial threat to the survival of amphibian populations, particularly in rural landscapes bisected by roadways such as in Acadia National Park, a world-class 47,000-acre mountainous coastal landscape in Maine.  Acadia hosts at least 11 species of salamanders and frogs, which are a critical part of the local ecosystem and park values, and several of these species have faced local declines in recent decades.  This project will generate a set of resources which can be used to reduce mortality of amphibians on roadways within Acadia National Park, and serve as a model for future efforts in other locations.  The master’s student will conduct nighttime road surveys for amphibian activity and will be responsible for coordinating a citizen-science campaign of volunteers conducting parallel surveys throughout the park.  The student will also be responsible for combining the survey data with GIS layers and weather data to create park-wide maps of vulnerability, to generate predictive tools for park management and to make recommendations for mitigation efforts.  A key part of this position will be engaging with stakeholders, including both community volunteers and park managers.

The University of Maine, an R1-institution, is a friendly community in the small, bike-able town of Orono, just a few minutes from the city of Bangor.  The campus is surrounded by lots of forest, bogs, rivers and lakes, set in between the famous Hundred-Mile Wilderness of the Appalachian Trail and the spectacular rocky coastline of Acadia National Park.

Qualifications: B.S. in biology, ecology, statistics, or other relevant discipline; capacity to organize and inspire a community citizen science campaign; strong quantitative skills, preferably including experience with GIS and R; interest in amphibian ecology; strong oral and written communication skills; and excellent work ethic. We are committed to valuing diverse identities, experiences, and skills.

Duration: September 2023 through May 2025

Salary: Approximately $23,000 per year, with anticipated 24 months of Research Assistantship plus 9 months of Teaching Assistantship.  Tuition and a minimum of half of health insurance premiums will be covered by the project.

To Apply: Please Click Here and complete the application posted at this link.  For full consideration, please apply prior to December 12th, 2022.


NOAH CHARNEY
Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology
University of Maine

In research, writing, and teaching, work in the Charney Lab spans landscape ecology, conservation biology, natural history, public policy, and environmental education.  Dr. Charney is author of a forthcoming natural history book on reading landscapes and coauthor of the award-winning Tracks and Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species.  On the side, he runs a nonprofit conservation organization and helps run a jazz club, both in Nashville, TN. Dr. Charney can be reached at: noah.charney@maine.edu.


HARRISON GOLDSPIEL
Completing PhD in Ecology and Environmental Science
Topic: Vernal Pools, eDNA, and Unisexual Salamanders

Brief Biography:  I grew up in Queens, NY. My interests in ecology have brought me to New England, Florida, California, and Ecuador, where I’ve worked on conservation science programs for threatened wildlife, including vernal pool amphibians and Galapagos tortoises. When not deep in data or the field, I enjoy cooking, reading, writing, and staying active outdoors.

Research Interests:  My research interests are broad and mostly reside in the realms of restoration ecology and population biology of amphibians and reptiles. I am most interested in studying wildlife populations over different disturbance gradients and using various sampling and quantitative techniques to advance our understanding and management of cryptic ecological communities. I’m also interested in the social dimensions of wildlife conservation and using interdisciplinary frameworks to better understand complex conservation stories.


STEVIE BENSON
Completing MS in Ecology and Environmental Science
Topic: Aquatic Ecology of Northern White-Cedar Lowlands

Brief Biography: I’m from the Chicago area and have been interested in the natural world for most of my life. I became interested in aquatic ecology after spending a field season as an intern in Alaska working on various freshwater projects that included working with both aquatic insects & juvenile salmon. In my free time, I enjoy gaming, hiking, & cooking.

Current Research: My research is focused on the wetland ecology of northern white-cedar lowland forests in Maine. The project will be working to help inform understanding of the biological processes & intermittent wetland habitat of these areas by looking at insect biomass, assemblages, & biodiversity as well as wood decomposition & aquatic leaf litter processing.