Natural Resources Job Board

M.S. Assistantship - Mapping hormone cycles of altricial avian nestlings under natural photoperiod and artificial light at night

Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture (State) |

Application Deadline:
Starting Date:
before 8/1/2024
Hours per Week:
at least 39
starting at $20,000 per year
Education Required:
Experience Required:
Starkville, Mississippi
Graduate Opportunities
Project Description: In an increasingly urbanized environment, it’s important to understand the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on birds. This project uses hormone analysis to determine the impacts of artificial light at night on nestling physical development and metabolic health. We investigate the role of artificial photoperiod in developmental timing and phenotypic expression.  
The selected M.S. student will monitor and measure nestling development (through body mass, skeletal growth, feather development, and blood glucose and hormone levels) under natural photoperiod and artificial light at night. Student will collect blood and fecal samples from nestlings and prepare samples for laboratory analysis and interpretation. Student will use this collected data to 1) map developmental hormones and growth patterns of nestlings, and 2) determine the impact of photoperiod on nestling development. Student will also have opportunities to join national and international networks of light pollution and urban ecology researchers.
Salary / Benefits: This position will include 2 years of funding, including a $20,000 stipend through a research assistantship, tuition waver, and health benefits. Student will also be expected to take on one TA position per semester.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology, Ecology, Physiology, Endocrinology, or a related field
  • Experience or high interest in laboratory hormonal analysis
  • Must demonstrate ability to work independently and with a team.
  • Must be detail-oriented and highly organized. 
  • Must demonstrate ability to work carefully and responsibly around wild and/or captive animals.
  • Statistical analysis experience in Program R preferred, but not required.
To Apply: I highly encourage applicants from historically underrepresented groups in science or non-traditional backgrounds to apply for this position. GRE Scores are not required. Please email a single pdf containing the following information:
  1. Cover letter addressing educational background, skills, previous research experience, and career goals
  2. CV
  3. Unofficial transcript
  4. Names and contact information for at least three references
Application Deadline: March 1 2024
Start Date: Summer or Fall 2024
Contact: Dr. Murry Burgess (; 
Dr. Murry Burgess (preferred contact method)