The Wetzel Lab at Michigan State University is accepting applications from
prospective PhD and MS students interested in studying how biological
diversity or environmental variability influences insects and their
interactions with plants and predators. The lab uses field experiments and
quantitative tools to address fundamental ecological questions that are
relevant to agricultural sustainability or climate change. There are
currently two main lines of inquiry in the lab:
1) How does trait diversity within and among plant species influence insect
herbivores and predators? We are especially focused on diversity in plant
chemistry among individuals within a population.
2) How does temperature variability influence interactions among plants,
insect herbivores, and predators? We are interested in understanding how
the increased frequency of high temperature events associated with climate
change is changing the ecology of plants and insects.
I am interested in students who would like to collaborate with me on these
projects as well as students who would like to develop novel projects
related to the ecology of plants and insects in a variable world. Please
see http://wetzellab.com <http://wetzellab.com/research> for more
information. I plan to take students both through the Department of
Entomology (http://www.ent.msu.edu/) and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology,
and Behavior Program (https://eebb.msu.edu/).
Applications should have a bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology,
entomology, environmental science, or related field. Preference will be
given to applicants with research experience, a broad understanding of
ecological principles, and knowledge of plant-insect interactions.
Applicants should have strong quantitative skills or an interest in
learning them. Strong written and oral communication skills are
essential. A MS is not necessary for PhD applicants, but it could be
helpful. The Wetzel Lab strives to be a safe space for diversity in STEM.
Students in the lab receive a generous stipend, a tuition waiver, and a
travel budget. This financial support comes through research
assistantships, teaching assistantships, and university fellowships.
Students are also encouraged to seek external fellowships through the NSF,
USDA, and other sources.
*Plant-insect ecology at Michigan State University*
MSU is an exciting place to study plant-insect ecology. The university has
a large and dynamic community of scientists working on cutting-edge
questions about plants and insects in natural and agricultural ecosystems.
Potential collaborators and colleagues can be found in the departments of
Entomology, Plant Biology, and Integrative Biology, and across the Ecology,
Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program. The university has an extensive
greenhouse facility and access to field sites on campus and at the MSU
Kellogg Biological Station nearby.
*How to apply*
Prospective students interested in applying should read the lab webpage (
http://wetzellab.com and http://www.ent.msu.edu/directory/will_wetzel) and
email me (wcwet...@msu.edu) with the following.
0) "Prospective student” in subject line of email
1) Brief cover letter describing research interests and career goals
3) Unofficial transcripts
4) Sample of scientific writing (e.g., published paper, manuscript in
preparation, MS or undergraduate thesis, research paper or essay from a
5) Names and email addresses for 3 references
Applicants who email me by November 1st will be given preference. This will
allow time for us to discuss potential projects before applications are due
to the graduate school on December 1st. I will schedule informal Skype
interviews with the best candidates to discuss potential projects in more
Department of Entomology
Michigan State University