Positions in the lab

Experience has taught me that curious, eager, and self-motivated individuals typically are most successful in research, so those are the type of people I look for as members of my lab group whether as research assistants, postdocs, graduate students, undergraduates, or volunteers. That means that successful applicants for lab positions will have a strong work ethic, be able to solve problems independently, undertake work using a task-oriented approach, and be motivated by their desire to learn about the natural world. It's also important that lab members are fun people to be around and enjoy being part of a dynamic research group.


Postdoctoral researchers

Current postdocs or graduate students near the end of their degree programs who are interested in the lab are encouraged to contact me to discuss the possibility of obtaining funding for a Postdoctoral Research Associate position in the lab. I also have funding for postdocs to join the lab periodically, most of which are focused on applied topics within the area of forest management.


Graduate students

Potential graduate students are encouraged to look over my website and read through my publications to get a good understanding of my research interests and the type of work I conduct. If it seems like our interests match, feel free to send me an updated copy of your CV and a detailed cover letter stating how working in my lab fits into your long-term career goals. That said, it should be noted that Teaching Assistantships in my department are rather limited so most graduate students are restricted to being funded by large grants that I obtain or through funding that students receive individually (e.g., NSF Graduate Research Fellowship).


Undergraduate students

In the past I have regularly taken on a large group of volunteers each summer for my Tachycineta swallow research project that is conducted a short distance from Oregon State University. Students volunteered their time and received valuable training in species identification, animal handling, and data collection, and then can obtain additional opportunities to develop other skill sets. More recently, I have hired students to work on field crews and in the lab, and have mentored several students through the URSA Engage Program. I also advise Honors College students who are keen to conduct independent research that has ties to ongoing lab projects.


Current positions open in the lab

FOREST POLLINATOR ASSISTANT CREW LEADER (1) needed for a 5-month position (15 March to 22 August 2021; dates somewhat flexible) for large-scale project evaluating native pollinator communities within intensively managed conifer forests. This work is being led by Dr. Jim Rivers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University (http://people.forestry.oregonstate.edu/jim-rivers/) and will take place in the rugged and scenic Coast Range Mountains of western Oregon. Pay rate is based on previous research experience with range of $700-$800/week, as well as free project-related transportation.

Position duties: Primary duties will vary with the timing of season and include: quantifying habitat use of queen bumble bees, assessing foraging behavior and nutritional quality in regenerating stands, and evaluating movement of bumble bees within intensively managed forest landscapes. Work will consist of collecting pollinators using a variety of techniques (netting, traps) in intensively managed stands, quantifying floral resources, processing specimens, undertaking regular data entry, and assisting with additional project-related duties as needed. Field work will require working long days and weekends,  driving on logging roads, navigating through difficult forest terrain, and will take place in a physically demanding work environment with challenging conditions (heat, cold, rain, sun, steep slopes, loose rock, logging slash, stinging insects, hazardous plants).

Qualifications: This position requires the incumbent to demonstrate several key characteristics, including a strong work ethic, a task-oriented approach to work, exceptional organizational skills, an ability to work independently, demonstrated leadership experience and sound decision-making skills, and the ability to maintain a positive perspective and communicate effectively with team members. Successful applicants will have a B.S. degree in entomology, animal ecology or a related field plus a minimum of 3 years of field experience (i.e., 3 season-long field positions = 3 years of field experience); they should also be able to carry heavy gear (30+ lbs) on steep slopes, work harmoniously in a group setting situation, have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record, and have a proven track record of working safely in field and laboratory settings. Preference will be given to candidates who are proficient with insect collection and identification, have previous experience sampling pollinators in field settings, and who are familiar with Oregon flora.  

To apply: Email a single PDF that consists of (1) a cover letter outlining qualifications for the position, (2) a full-length CV or resume, and (3) the name, email, and phone number of 3 references to OregonPollinatorCrew@gmail.com with “2021 Application - Assistant Crew Leader” in the subject line. Position will be filled as a qualified applicant is identified. 



The successful applicant will have the opportunity to contribute to research on wild bumble bee populations and movement in the Oregon Coast Range. The objective of this research is to assess how behavior, population dynamics, and health of native bumble bees are affected by stand and landscape characteristics in managed forests using cutting-edge genetic capture-recapture techniques. We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who is motivated to gain experience collecting ecological data and sampling insects. This is a great opportunity for students interested in ecology, entomology, botany, and/or forest research. Position dates are June 11-August 22, 2021 (some flexibility in start and end dates may be possible).

Position Duties 

• Collecting wild pollinators using a variety of techniques (netting, traps, non-lethal tissue samples)

• Identifying native and exotic flowering plant species

• Measuring plant community, environmental, and management-related variables

• Labeling and organizing sampled specimens

• Entering data

At least 80% of work hours will be in the field. Field work will take place in the rugged and scenic Coast Range of western Oregon and will involve physically demanding work in challenging conditions (heat, cold, rain, sun, steep slopes, loose rock, logging slash, stinging insects, hazardous plants), working long days, including some weekends, driving on logging roads, and navigating through difficult forest terrain.

Applicants should be working towards a B.S. degree in entomology, animal ecology, botany, forestry, or a related field.

Successful applicants will:

• Be self-motivated, with a strong work ethic

• Be able to carry heavy gear (30+ lbs) on steep slopes

• Have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record

• Be able to maintain a positive disposition under challenging field conditions

• Be able to work safely, efficiently, and cooperatively in a team setting

• Have excellent communication and organizational skills

• Complete CPR/First Aid Certification prior to official start date (coordinated and paid for by employer)

  • Preference will be given to candidates who are proficient with insect collection and identification, have previous experience with ecological field work, and/or are familiar with Oregon flora.

Apply here!