Four PhD Opportunities in Agroecology ~

4 de agosto de 2012

Four PhD Opportunities in Agroecology

Targeted grazing to reduce tillage in organic dryland systems:
Environmental, ecological, and economic assessment of reintegrating animal
and crop production

Four PhD Opportunities in Agroecology

Location: Montana State University.  Bozeman, MT.

Project summary. The Northern Great Plains is a leading producer of
organic small grain, pulse, and oilseed crops; but management options are
limited by highly variable precipitation and easily eroded soils. This
area also has strong potential for low-input organic sheep production, but
access to sources of grazing and feed represents a challenge for ranchers.
This project evaluates the potential of replacing tillage with targeted
sheep grazing to terminate legume cover crops, manage crop residues, and
reduce weed, insect, and pathogen pressures. We are recruiting candidates
for the following positions:

1. Cropping systems – weed ecology.  The candidate will compare crop
yield, crop quality, and crop-weed interactions between sheep-grazed and
tillage based organic systems. Emphasis may include nitrogen budget,
mechanisms determining crop-weed competitive interactions, role of weed
diversity on ecosystems services, and approaches to manage perennial weeds.

2. Top-down impacts of targeted sheep grazing on trophic interactions.
This study will assess ecosystem services provided by the enhanced
diversity that we expect in the grazed organic systems by means of plant-
insect interaction networks. As part of this project, the successful
candidate will assess insect diversity and impact of management systems on
key pests, natural enemies, pollinators, and crop damage.

3. Plant pathogen dynamics in sheep-grazed, tillage-based, and
conventional small grain systems. This study will evaluate ecological
constraints associated with the integrated management of diseases,
including mite-transmitted cereal viruses, in dryland ecosystems.
Emphasis will be placed in understanding the biological and environmental
factors conditioning the spread and impact of common diseases as well as
approaches to mitigate them.

4. Impact of management system on lamb performance, health and quality.
The successful candidate will evaluate the impact of management system on
lamb production, parasite loads, carcass quality, and indices of shelf
life.  Treatments will include animals grazed on native summer range,
weaned and over wintered grazing a mix of crop residues and harvested feed.

Successful candidates will be members of a vibrant, interdisciplinary team
of researchers on agro ecology.  Candidates must hold a MS degree in
ecology, agroecology, entomology, weed science, plant science, animal
science, or related field, depending on the position.  Excellent work
ethic, team player, and proficiency in English language (written and oral)
are required. Submit 1) Name of the position to which you are applying, 2)
Letter of application describing career goals and research interests, 3)
Resume, transcripts, and 4) Names, addresses, phone numbers and email
addresses of three references. GRE and TOEFL scores (if required) are

Electronic applications are accepted.  Applications should be sent to:
Dr. Fabian Menalled. (406) 994-4783

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