Opportunities Available

2015-2016 AEL

Volunteer Positions
Research Assistant (graduate student) Positions
Postdoctoral Positions
Undergraduate Opportunities
Technician/Seasonal Opportunities (New)


Volunteer Positions

Are you looking for more research experience? Do you want to get more involved with field and lab work? Love being on the water? 
The Aquatic Ecology Laboratory (AEL) has a number of graduate students looking for some extra hands this summer with field work and sample processing. These opportunities are perfect for those interested in gaining more field/lab experience, or who just want an excuse to get outside. 
If you are interested in being a volunteer for our lab, please send your name and email to Melissa Marburger (marburger.4@osu.edu; AEL Financial and HR manager). We will add it to our "AEL Volunteer Listserv," which is how we communicate out a volunteer opportunity. 


Research Assistant/Graduate Student Positions

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Drs. Michael Fraker (https://ael.osu.edu/people/fraker.24) and Stuart Ludsin (www.ludsinlab.com/) have an opening for a MS (or possibly Ph.D.) student to begin during fall 2017 (with funding to begin as soon as March). The student would work on a project designed to better understand how prey integrate phenotypically-plastic antipredator defenses (behavior, morphology) over their development. The student also would work closely with collaborators on the project (Dr. Robert Denver, University of Michigan; Dr. Barney Luttbeg, Oklahoma State University) and would have opportunities to initiate independent research related to project objectives. 

Project description: Amphibian tadpoles display extensive phenotypic plasticity in anti-predator defenses that enhance fitness by increasing survival to metamorphosis. While the induction of these defenses and their evolutionary and ecological significance have been extensively studied, the proximate mechanisms that underlie them are largely unknown. Because these responses are employed with different lags to predator exposure and have different consequences to species interactions, we must learn how these responses are mechanistically integrated and what tradeoffs are implicated.

We found that tadpole anti-predator defenses are partly controlled by a bimodal physiological stress response that is initiated by an alarm pheromone released from tadpole skin in response to predator attack. Tadpoles suppress behavior and their neuroendocrine stress axis in the short-term, with this behavioral inhibition enhancing survivorship by reducing exposure to predators. However, tadpoles increase stress hormonal activity over a longer time frame, which induces adaptive changes in tail and body morphology. These changes either enhance survivorship by facilitating escape behavior or by providing a decoy (large tail) to deflect lethal predator attacks from the more vulnerable body.

Our research approach will use endocrinological measurements and modifications (i.e., blocking or enhancing the stress response with exogenous hormones/drugs) in conjunction with ecological lab and mesocosm experiments and dynamic state variable modeling. We seek to learn: 1) how the prey neuroendocrine stress response operates over time under a complex predation environment; 2) how stress hormones govern the expression and integration of the prey phenotypic response (i.e., behavior, morphology) in an ecological context; and 3) what the fitness consequences of this regulation are.

Location:  Successful candidates will join a dynamic, interactive group of students, post-docs, and faculty at The Ohio State University’s Aquatic Ecology Laboratory (http://ael.osu.edu/) within the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (http://eeob.osu.edu/). 

Qualifications:  Successful applicants will be creative, motivated, and capable of working effectively both independently and in collaborative groups.  A bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, or a related field is required.  Strong writing and quantitative skills are essential. A background in endocrinology or computational modeling also would be useful.

Stipend: ~$2,325/month plus full tuition waiver and health benefits. Full Graduate Research Associates (GRA) support exists for ~2.5 years, with opportunities to teach (if so desired). Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) support also exists for those interested in staying longer to complete a PhD.  

How to apply: Applications for this position are due by January 15, 2017. In addition to applying online (http://eeob.osu.edu/grad/program-admissions), email Drs. Michael Fraker and Stuart Ludsin at apps.ael@gmail.com1) a letter of interest that briefly describes your educational and research background, as well as your research interests/goals; 2) a curriculum vitae that also includes your GRE and (if applicable) TOEFL/TSE scores; 3) an unofficial copy of your transcripts; and 4) contact information for three professional references. Put “Graduate Student Position” in the email subject line.

Contact information: For additional information, please visit http://www.ael.osu.edu/ or contact Dr. Fraker (fraker.24@osu.edu) or Dr. Ludsin (ludsin.1@osu.edu).


Postdoctoral Scientist Positions

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Description: Drs. Stuart A. Ludsin (http://www.ludsinlab.com/) and Elizabeth A. Marschall (https://ael.osu.edu/people/marschall.2) have two years of support for a Post-doctoral Scientist to contribute to ongoing research centered on the ecology of Lake Erie’s fish communities. A major emphasis will be placed on understanding how human-driven environmental change has and will continue to impact Lake Erie and its food webs and fisheries. The successful applicant also will assist in redesigning and analyzing an Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife lower food web (phytoplankton and zooplankton) and nutrient monitoring database for Lake Erie, which will be integrated with long-term fish assessment databases. The successful applicant will lead and co-author manuscripts, present scientific papers, and help mentor students who are conducting related field, laboratory, and modeling research. Opportunities, if interested, would exist to participate in field and lab work, gain university teaching experience, attend training workshops, and write research grants. 

Location: The incumbent would join a dynamic, interactive group of faculty, post-docs, and students at the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory (AEL; www.ael.osu.edu/), in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (www.eeob.osu.edu/). Office space and necessary computer equipment will be provided in the AEL, located on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. Support to attend scientific meetings also will be provided annually.

Qualifications: A successful applicant will be creative, motivated, and capable of working both independently and cooperatively within an interdisciplinary group, including academics and agency biologists. Minimum qualifications include a PhD in biology, fisheries science, biostatistics, or a related field. Strong quantitative and communication skills are required. Ideal candidates will have a strong knowledge of statistics and computer programming experience (ideally in R, SAS, or Matlab). Additional experience in database design and management is desired, but not required.

Salary: $47,484/year plus comprehensive benefits package

How to apply: Electronically submit a single PDF with cover letter, CV, and names/contact information of three references to Dr. Stuart A. Ludsin at ludsin.1@osu.edu. Put “Lake Erie Post-doc” in subject line. Application review will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. An ideal start date would be fall 2016.  Feel free to direct questions to Dr. Ludsin at the email above.  


Undergraduate Opportunities

Undergraduate Volunteer Opportunities

The Aquatic Ecology Laboratory is looking for students seeking volunteer experience in aquatic ecology. If this fits your description, please email Melissa Marburger (marburger.4@osu.edu) to sign up for the Aquatic Ecology Volunteer listserv. 

Independent Study

The Aquatic Ecology Laboratory is interested in energetic, committed undergraduate students who are interested in conducting independent research, for OSU credit, that focuses on ecologically oriented projects in freshwater ecosystems. For all projects, we ask students for, at minimum, a commitment of one year. For more information, please contact: Stuart Ludsin (ludsin.1@osu.edu), Associate Professor, EEOB, or marschall.2@osu.edu, Associate Professor, EEOB.

The Aquatic Ecology Laboratory provides course credit for one quarter (or more) of volunteer research experience in aquatic ecology. For more information, please contact: Stuart Ludsin (ludsin.1@osu.edu), Associate Professor, EEOB, or Elizabeth Marschall (marschall.2@osu.edu), Associate Professor, EEOB.

Work Study

We are looking for qualified students to fill work-study positions at the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory. Specific tasks for our Work-Study students include field sampling, in-lab sample processing, and data entry. We strive to ensure that Work-Study students also will have opportunities to participate in lab and field research associated with other ongoing projects. Aquatic Ecology Laboratory graduate students and faculty are committed to educating Work-Study students in the fine art of scientific research in a cooperative and supportive work environment. We are looking for creative, hard-working students.
Federal Work-Study support (call 614.292.0300 for information)
A course in biology
An interest in aquatic ecology
ContactMelissa Marburger (marburger.@osu.edu) at 614.292.1613


Technical/Seasonal Positions

We're hiring multiple technical positions to assist research projects focused on Lake Erie walleye population and inland Ohio reservoirs. Download PDF

Responsibilities.  Up to 3 positions are available to provide technical assistance on field- and laboratory-based research projects focused on Lake Erie’s walleye population and inland Ohio reservoirs.
Lake Erie walleye recruitment.  Duties include extensive field sampling for larval fish, eggs, zooplankton, and phytoplankton during February through May. When not sampling, duties will include sample processing (e.g., larval fish identification and diets, zooplankton identification), data entry and analysis, and assisting with experiments.
Ohio reservoirs.  Duties include field sampling for adult and larval fish, zooplankton, and phytoplankton; acoustic telemetry. Additional computer/laboratory work will be required (e.g., larval fish identification and diets, zooplankton identification, and data entry).  

Qualifications:  Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree, and further experience is preferred.  Candidates must be self-motivated and able to work with a variety of people. Successful candidates must have a background or interest in aquatic ecology, be able to conduct field sampling from a boat in rough conditions, be flexible enough to spend extended periods (multiple days) at research sites on Lake Erie, be willing to use a microscope for extended periods, and capable of performing standard laboratory procedures. Prior field and laboratory experience is preferred, but not mandatory.

Start Date: Late February / early March 2017

End Date: 4 - 7 months after starting

Salary: $10 - $12/hr dependent upon experience

Closing:  January 15, 2017 however, application review will begin immediately.

How to apply:  Please submit a cover letter, resume (or CV), (unofficial) college transcripts, and names/contacts for three references electronically to Zoe Almeida (almeida.25@osu.edu; Phone: (614)292-1613).  See http://www.ael.osu.edu/ to learn more about the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory. 


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