Graduate student opportunities

Ph. D. and M. S. positions available in Community Ecology.

We are looking to recruit a graduate student to start in the fall of 2023.

Particular ideas we would like to explore at the moment are

  1. How does loss of dispersers affect interactions between plants and their natural enemies in tropical rain forests?
  2. How do pathogen-plant interactions vary along precipitation gradients?
  3. How does habitat fragmentation affect the dietary specialization of insect herbivores in temperate and tropical forests.

More generally, some questions that we are interested in are:

  1. Is coexistence of competing plant species maintained by natural enemies?
  2. How do interactions between plants and their natural enemies vary along environmental (e.g. precipitation and soil fertility) and anthropogenic (e.g. habitat fragmentation and hunting) gradients?
  3. What factors influence the relative abundances of host-specialist and host-generalist herbivores in ecological communities?
  4. How does fruiting synchrony affect seedling survival in Southeast Asian rain forests and what factors increase asynchronous fruiting?
  5. How do different coexistence mechanisms influence the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning?

This is far from an exhaustive list and ideas for other questions that fit in with our overall research themes are welcome. The recent(ish) review papers from the group on forest fragmentation and species interactions, precipitation effects on plant-pathogen interactions and influence of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning may give you a more in-depth idea of the questions we are discussing at the moment.


Applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology or a related discipline and a Master’s degree will be advantageous for Ph. D. applications. A broad knowledge of ecology, strong written and verbal communication ability in English and quantitative skills are essential. Preference will be given to applicants with proven research aptitude (e.g. published papers), experience of field work, and an interest and knowledge of natural history (especially in the system they would like to work in).

Application process

Interested and qualified candidates should browse my web page ( and then email me ( with:

  1. a cover-letter including a description of (i) qualifications, (ii) research interests and (iii) brief summary of research themes you’d pursue in my group,
  2. an up-to-date CV,
  3. transcript (unofficial is fine),
  4.  a 1-page proposal for a potential project you’d like to work on in my group (note, I will also use this as a sample of your scientific writing)

The UConn Graduate School’s application deadline is December 15th 2022, but please contact me well before then.

Strong applicants will be contacted to schedule an informal interview.


Internal financial support is available through research assistantships, teaching assistantships and university fellowships, but applicants are strongly encouraged to seek external funding. The UConn Graduate School has several funding opportunities for outstanding applicants and groups that are historically under-represented in science (e.g. the NextGenCT Scholarships, Giolas-Harriott and Crandall Cordero Fellowships and Outstanding Scholars Program) .



If you have questions check the FAQs and if you need more information or clarification, email me.