The Vonesh lab in the Department of Biology at Virginia Commonwealth Univesity 
( invites applications from prospective graduate 
students for Fall 2017 to collaborate on our NSF-funded project on rock pool 
food webs.  Changes in predator diversity via extinction and invasion are 
widespread, often with dramatic ecological and socio-economic consequences. 
Despite important advances, obstacles remain that limit our ability to predict 
manage these consequences. This research focuses on river rock pool communities 
as a tractable model system and integrates natural history, ecological theory, 
surveys, experiments, and new statistical tools to overcome these obstacles and 
advance our understanding of the relationship between predator biodiversity, 
populations, and ecosystem function and services.  Work will focus on river 
rock pools in Richmond, VA, and throughout the Southeastern USA. The 
juxtaposition of 
the James River rock pools, Virginia Commonwealth University, and 
metro-Richmond schools, provides an exceptional opportunity to integrate 
research and public 
education. Students and teachers from area high schools will collaborate with 
investigators on aspects of the research and in developing and broadly 
innovative educational resources (e.g., This project is 
a joint effort between myself (James Vonesh), 
Mike McCoy (, Jeremy Wojdak 
( and Ben Bolker 
( Graduate students 
will develop independent research projects that fit within the larger framework 
of the grant. There is opportunity to work on the project and get rolling prior 
the fall semester (e.g., spring/summer technician employment). For more 
thoughts on my mentoring approach see

Prospective students with a Bachelor’s degree are encouaged to apply through 
the Biology Masters in Science program 
program-in-biology/), those with a Master’s degree should consider the VCU 
Integrative Life Sciences Ph.D. program (
programs/phd-in-integrative-life-sciences/). Competitive stipends, tuition 
waivers, and support for field work are available. Successful MS degree 
applicants to the 
Vonesh lab typically have had a BS in biology (or related field), GPA >3.3, 
GREs >1200, prior research experience, a strong interest in developing 
skills, and an high level of self motivation. Candidates for the PhD program 
should have the above, plus a track record of research productivity (e.g., 
manuscripts in review, and presentations). Interested persons should initially 
email a letter that summarizes their background, educational goals, and 
interests, along with curriculum vitae (include GPA and GRE scores) with 
contact information for three references to Dr. James Vonesh ( 

Virginia Commonwealth University, located in Richmond, VA, is a larges public 
R1 university and has an active and diverse Ecology and Evolution faculty that 
engaged in research around the world (, Richmond is an 
exciting place to live and work (, voted 
Outside Magazine’s “Best River Town in America” 
(, the third 
most tattooed city in America, according 
to the Today Show, and perhaps simply the “Best City in America” 

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