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Seeking PhD or Masters Students in Conservation Science

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is expanding its research program in Conservation Science. We seek applications from outstanding prospective graduate students in this topic, who wish to pursue a research-based Masters or PhD degree. We have funding to admit a new cohort of students. While we encourage students to pursue independent funding opportunities, EEB’s policy is to admit students only when we are confident we have funding support available for the full duration of their studies. We provide funding to both Masters and PhD students, regardless of their citizenship. Our goal is to recruit a diverse pool of students on a range of metrics, including background, career stage, and research interests.

Our ecology program is among the top 10% for research impact in North America (Keville et al., 2017).  Our recent Conservation Science graduates have an excellent record of placement, with students taking leadership positions within conservation NGOs and public agencies and post-doctoral positions in internationally renowned research groups. Our students’ research projects are published in top-tier journals and deliver products that our practitioner partners use and value. Our students study globally important conservation questions, commonly working in overseas field systems alongside in-country practitioners.

We anticipate having a “cohort-model” where students interact with each other and multiple faculty members. However, students typically have one lead faculty advisor. Ensuring a good match between this advisor and the student is a central feature of our recruitment process. Interested students should reach out to potential advisors by email (given below) to explore possibilities.


Paul Armsworth,– Ecological modeling, ecological economics, spatial optimization, conservation finance.

Mike Blum,– Aquatic conservation, coastal sustainability, urban socioecology, public health.

Orou Gaoue,– Sustainable harvest, population dynamics modeling, plant-human interactions.

Xingli Giam,– Land-use & climate impacts on aquatic communities, macroecology, human dimensions of conservation

Charlie Kwit,– Threatened species management, land use change impacts on biodiversity and mutualisms.

Laura Russo, ( – plant-pollinator ecology, agroecology, insect conservation, mutualisms. 

Daniel Simberloff,– Impacts & management of biological invasions.

Not recruiting as lead advisor, but very active in research group:

Nina Fefferman, – (Re)emerging infectious diseases, wildlife health, disease spill-over.

Mona Papes, – Ecological niche models, shifting species distributions, remote sensing.

Kimberly Sheldon, – Climate change & range shifts, ecophysiology & conservation, local knowledge.

Additional EEB faculty in Conservation Science can be found here.