Monday, November 26, 2012

Graduate Programs Open House at University of Houston

The University of Houston Department of Biology and Biochemistry is hosting a Graduate Programs Open House. The purpose of the Open House is to expose local students to the exciting, cutting-edge research going on in the department, and encourage them to join their diverse graduate programs.  The Open House will take place during the morning of Wednesday, December 5, 2012. 

If you are planning to apply to graduate school in the areas of Biology and/or Biochemistry this is a perfect opportunity to learn about research-intensive graduate programs and meet UH's distinguished, internationally recognized faculty.

The Open House will consist of:

9:00–9.30am: Meet and Greet. Students meet Dept. of Biology and Biochemistry faculty and students, the department Chair, and the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. (Free continental breakfast will be provided.)

9:30am–12:30pm: Guided tours of the department and the research laboratories.

12.30–1.30pm: Pizza lunch (free for all participants).

If you would like to participate please register here:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Interns needed to help with wetland assessment project

Galveston Bay Watershed Wetland Mitigation Assessment
Interns needed!
The Texas Coastal Watershed Program (TAMU) and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) are conducting an assessment of wetland mitigation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in the greater Houston area (8 county region). We will assess the nature of mitigation for authorized wetland fill activity: Is it required where it should be? Is it documented? Is there follow up? And finally, how much of the required mitigation is actually successful in the long run?
We are seeking at least two student interns to work on this project. Much of the work will involve tedious examination of many records, but there will be opportunity to be involved in some ground-truthing later in the project.  Familiarity with Excel, Access or other spreadsheet and database software packages required. GIS experience preferred.  Most of the work will take place in the offices of the TCWP in Clear Lake.  With time, some of the work could be accomplished off-site.
20 hours a week. Work will commence in January 2012.
Contact John Jacob, 

Wetlands lab in the news: mangroves and whooping cranes

As mangroves expand on the Texas coast, they may be displacing marshes that are used by endangered whooping cranes. I discuss this ecosystem shift in the Houston Chronicle article linked here.  

A whooping crane foraging near a newly-recruited mangrove tree (photo credit Dr. Lee Smee).

The research mentioned in this article is supported by grants from Texas Sea Grant and NASA.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Undergrad Internship in Waterbird Ecology at TAMUG

Two Undergraduate Internship Opportunities (484 credit possible)
Spring 2013

Being offered in conjunction with Audubon Texas:
Preference will be given to students with strong interests in:
·       Coastal Ecosystems
·       Waterbird Ecology
·       Wildlife Management
·       The majority of work will be directly related to management/surveys of Audubon’s coastal rookeries, interns will assist with:
o   Rookery surveys and monitoring via boat mainly in the West Bay area, but occasionally at other locations on Galveston Bay or beyond. Accommodations will be provided if an overnight trip is required.
o   Management of Audubon owned or leased islands: fire ant control, vegetation work, predator management, construction of nesting platforms, volunteer workdays, etc.
o   Spring 2013 work will include coordinating and helping with a TPWD grant to install signage at major boat ramps to educate the public on rookery islands
o   Prep work/ compiling of data for the Texas Colonial Waterbird survey database
o   GIS work documenting management activities
o   Occasional office work entering data or related tasks
·       Interns will gain experience in all aspects of colonial waterbird management, boat safety and operation and wildlife research
·       Applicants must be able to work in challenging field conditions- areas prone to mosquitos and rattlesnakes; be able to lift 40 pounds; be able to work independently; be available to work hours other than 8-5 Monday- Friday as needed

To apply: email Dr. Kim Reich,  Write “waterbird” in the subject of your email, attach a brief statement of interest, your resume, and include relevant course work and your current G.P.A.  Please respond NO LATER THAN 13 NOVEMBER 2012;  a time and location for an informational meeting to be held the evening of Nov. 15th and 16th will be sent to all who respond by the deadline.  Interviews will be scheduled at the informational meeting.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Peer-reviewed humor

Do you feel like this after a paper has been rejected?

And do you feel like this after a paper has been accepted?

Expedition Sewee Instructor/Naturalist, South Carolina

Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute
Job Description

Title:                             Expedition Sewee Instructor/Naturalist
Work Dates:                 January 2013 – May 2013 (summer opportunities available)
Location:                      Awendaw, SC

The program combines a unique opportunity to work in varied curriculums and educate children in natural resources and marine biology. We are hiring to work at the Sewee Coastal Retreat Center in Awendaw, SC, where we teach our Expedition Sewee program (marine science).  We work with students from 2nd to 8th grade and instruct in day and night programming.  In addition, we also facilitate team initiatives and games.

Principal Duties:
·       Regularly teach all marine science and natural resource components of the core curriculum- (training provided).
·       Create and master lesson plans for six marine science classes including marine life, salt marsh and barrier island beach studies.
·       Lead students in daily program activities (wake-up, , meals, canteen, and campfire).
·       Be actively involved in all program activities, leading and participating in evening recreational and instructional times as scheduled.
·       Assist with routine clean up and set up of program areas.
·       Perform direct supervision of children while involved with activities.
·       Facilitate groups utilizing adventure activities.

·       BA or BS in Environmental Education, Natural Sciences, Geology, Education, Marine Biology or related field is preferred.
·       Must have the patience, understanding, flexibility, and a lot of energy.
·       Must demonstrate teaching skills and the ability to implement creative “hands on” teaching methods.
·       Must be willing to sacrifice, adapt and work hard as part of a team pursuing an objective.
·       Must be physically able to perform the tasks required to teach outdoors.
·       Must be willing to work long hours.

Pay Scale:
Twice a month pay of $550-$500 plus room, board, and a sickness/accidental insurance plan.  EOE.

You can send resumes to Shannon Repokis via email

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mangrove work featured on local NPR station

A story about our work on mangrove expansion on the Texas coast was broadcast this morning on KUHF, the local NPR affilitate station. The audio is here:

And the print version is here:

The work in these stories is funded by the NASA Carbon Science Program with additional support from Texas Sea Grant.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Houston, TX
Job Category
Full time Positions
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
BIO-WEST, Inc., environmental consultants seek full-time scientist or ecologist for the Houston, TX, office. This positions requires producing standard wetland documentation and permits, wildlife reports, conducting baseline studies and surveys, leading field teams, participating as a team member, and working autonomously according to project needs. Must be able to travel and perform in extreme weather conditions and difficult terrain while meeting project time and budget constraints. Submit letter of application, resume, and three professional references to No phone calls please.
The ideal candidate must be able to ID flora, fauna, and soils of the south and southwest, assess habitats for wetland and wildlife values, understand and comply with environmental regulations (e.g., NEPA, ESA, CWA), and assist team members and clients with the environmental permitting process. Skills must include written and oral communication; GPS, boat, and ATV experience; data collection; construction monitoring/inspection; and technical writing. Requires 2+ years of experience with: wetland investigations, delineations, and permitting; contributing to biological/environmental documents (e.g., EIS, BA), coordinating with state and federal agencies (e.g., USACE, USFWS); and acting as project manager/lead. Must be familiar with the MS-Office Suite and able to interact professionally with clients. Job requires a BS degree (minimum) in relevant field, demonstrated proficiency with the 1987 USACE Wetland Delineation Manual and its Supplements, and ability to obtain scientific collection permits as needed.
Contact Person
Dyer Schlitzkus
Contact eMail

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Volunteer opportunity: Dune restoration

Artist Boat is conducting a dune restoration event on October 19 from 10am-2pm at Galveston Island State Park. They are in need of volunteers to help with a variety of tasks. Contact Kari Howard ( if you would like to participate.

Volunteer opportunity: Prairie Pandemonium

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beach clean-up with Surfrider

The Surfrider Foundation Galveston Chapter is participating in the state wide, 26th Annual Adopt a Beach Clean Up.

When: Saturday September 22, 2012 8:45 AM
Where: meet at Menard Park 27th & Seawall for supplies and further instructions to clean the beach between 29th and 39th

Questions? Contact Surfrider Foundation Galveston Chapter

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bayou Land Conservancy seeking Biology students for Summer Internship

Position: Biology Intern
Posted: August 30, 2012
Application Deadline: Sept. 12, 2012
Location: 10330 Lake Rd. Bldg. J  Houston, Tx 77070 (NW Harris Co. - 249 and Louetta)
Contact: Jennifer Lorenz, Executive Director
Phone: 281-576-1634

Bayou Land Conservancy is a community-sponsored land preservation organization working with willing landowners to permanently protect land in the greater Houston region. We preserve river and bayou corridors, other properties with significant wildlife habitat value and places where family recreation can occur in harmony with nature. Our "No Child Left Inside" education program connects tomorrow's conservation leaders with nature today. Bayou Land Conservancy is proud to have conserved over 8,500 acres in the Houston area.

We are seeking two (2) high-energy individuals to temporarily join our team to work with us this summer. We are looking for current or recently graduated college biology students with an ecology focus who want to gain real-world experience by assisting one of the most successful conservation organizations in Texas.  This position, while unpaid, will provide winning applicants with not only background for your resume, but also a positive reference (where earned) to prospective employers. We might also be able to provide you with college credit hours (check with your current professors as we are currently approved for University of Houston Law School and actively working on other college system approvals). Hours will be flexible, but 12 hour min. required per week for min. 8 week internship.

Desired skills:
·                  Evident interest in and passion for conservation
·                  Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously
·                  Course work and experience in GIS (ArcGIS on your computer a plus!)
·                  Knowledge of local ecology

Your skills and knowledge (and muscles) will be enlisted to potentially:
·                  work with crews on trail work days on our fabulous public preserves
·                  assist with flora/fauna inventories with our team of expert biologists
·                  meet with public and private landowners on annual monitoring surveys

Please submit a resume with two references and cover letter and a one-page summary of your local ecology knowledge (including your experience with flora/fauna identification / ecological processes / and watershed knowledge) before or by Sept.12th, 2012.  We look forward to your joining our current legal and biology interns!  A number of our previous interns are now gainfully employed! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The northernmost mangrove and other sights from Florida

Carolyn and I went to the east coast of Florida to visit with mangrove ecologist Dr. Candy Feller from the Smithsonian. Our goals were to explore the marsh-mangrove ecotone on the Florida coast, compare it to the ecotone on the Texas coast, and brainstorm proposal ideas. It was a rainy day, but Carolyn and I trekked out into the marsh at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve near St Augustine, FL, to look for the northernmost black mangroves (Avicennia germinans), and we found them! There were just a few scattered dwarf mangroves in a sea of Spartina alterniflora and Batis maritima.

The transition from a marsh-dominated to a mangrove-dominated coastline happened quickly - 16 miles south, the black mangroves were substantially denser. Image from the Vilano boat ramp, St Augustine, FL.

And then, about 50 miles south, near Fort Pierce, FL, the mangrove assemblage was much more robust - denser, taller, and more diverse. The marsh vegetation was also much taller!

One unusual sight was these "albino" red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) propagules. The yellow color indicates a loss of chlorophyll, possibly due to exposure to oil or other pollutants. Not all trees seemed equally susceptible, since not all neighboring trees had albino propagules.

Did you think that prop roots occurred only in red mangroves? And that white mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa) occurred only at higher, drier elevations? That's what conventional Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico mangrove knowledge says, but nope. This is a picture of Laguncularia with prop roots growing in an continuously inundated pond. Image from Merritt Island, Florida. 

A neat sight that doesn't really have anything to do with mangroves: a pair of great horned owls near Fort Matanzas National Monument.

Biologist position with the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center

See for more details, but hurry! Job posting closes August 31, 2012.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From the Scientific American blog: The PhD’s Guide to Academic Conferences

Good advice for first-time (and beyond) conference goers!

Coastal Fisheries Hatchery Technician position available

Position Title: Coastal Fisheries Hatchery Technician I-II (please note: listed on TPWD Jobs website as “Fish & Wildlife Technician I-II”)
Agency: Coastal Fisheries Division, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)
Job Location: Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson, TX
Responsibilities: Under the supervision of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Sea Center Texas Hatchery Manager, this position is responsible for fish hatchery technician work in the area of stock enhancement.  Assists Hatchery Manager in the propagation and distribution of marine finfish throughout the coastal waters of Texas.  Duties include collecting, tabulating and entry of hatchery records, fish culture operations and stock enhancement program work.  Maintains records on fish pond densities, physical conditions and rate of utilization.  Performs maintenance work, and operates equipment and the use of small hand tools.  May provide training to less tenured technicians, assign and/or schedule the work of other team members and provide technical guidance.  Performs additional duties as assigned.  Complies with all Agency, Division and Branch rules, regulations and procedures.  NOTE: 10% travel required. 
Working Conditions: (1) Required to work hours other than 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with days off other than Saturday, Sunday and holidays; (2) Required to adjust to changing schedules; (3) Required to work overtime as necessary; (4) Required to travel with possible overnight stays; (5) Required to perform work outdoors, occasionally in adverse weather conditions; (6) Required to perform work in water-based field activities, including work aboard seagoing vessels; (7) Required to perform manual labor including lifting supplies and materials up to 50 lbs.; (8) Non-smoking environment in State buildings and vehicles; (9) Required to respond to emergencies and on-call situations; (10) Required to perform physical work in heat-enclosed spaces, heights, noise, dust and fumes, given proper safety precautions and equipment; (11) Required to operate a State vehicle.
Minimum Qualifications:

·         Education: Graduation from High School or GED. Acceptable Substitution: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's, Master’s or PhD degree in Fisheries Biology, Marine Biology or closely related field may substitute for two years of required experience.

·         Experience: Fish and Wildlife Technician I: No experience required. Fish and Wildlife Technician II: Four years relevant experience.

·         License/Certifications: Must possess or be able to obtain, within 30 days of employment, a valid Class "C" Texas driver's license. NOTE: Retention of position contingent upon obtaining and maintaining license. 
SalaryKnowledge, Skills and AbilitiesHow to ApplyAdditional Requirements and full details on this position may be found at and click on “Job # 12-00-632; Location – Lake Jackson, Texas”
Please note:
·         Skills test may be requested at time of interview. For complete list of additional requirements, please see “Additional Requirements” at url listed immediately above.     
Closing Date5PM CDT August 24, 2012. State of Texas Application for Employment + required forms to apply at   
Questions?: Mr. Shane Bonnot at

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sea Grant Research Assistant Position Announcement

Texas Sea Grant is hiring a research assistant in College Station, TX. Candidates with a bachelor's degree or higher in a science field are eligible to apply. Go to and search for NOV# 121666 for more details.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Postdoc in Integrative Biology at UT Austin

The Section of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in Integrative Biology. This subject area is broadly defined to include evolution, ecology, and behavior. The Fellow will be expected to conduct an independent high-quality research program in collaboration with at least two faculty in the Section. For information about the Section of Integrative Biology at UT and its faculty, visit .  In addition, one semester per year the Fellow will co-teach an undergraduate course on Research Methods, as part of the UTeach program for training K-12  science teachers. For information about the UTeach program, visit
The position is for two years, subject to annual review. The Fellow is requested to start work at the University of Texas no later than August 2013. There is an annual salary of $40,000 with an additional $10,000 per year in research support for travel, equipment, or supplies.
Applicants should electronically submit a single pdf file containing the following, in order:
1) Coverletter, including mention of the proposed faculty sponsors (max 1 page). Candidates are advised contact potential faculty sponsors prior to applying, to gauge the level of mutual interest.
2) CV
3) Statement of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages).
4) Statement describing the candidate's proposed research for the duration of this postdoctoral position (maximum 2 pages).
5) Statement describing the candidate's teaching experience and philosophy (maximum 2 pages)
6) Copies of 2 publications
7) List of three references, with contact information (email, telephone, and mailing address). We will request letters directly from these references, after identifying top candidates.

The application pdf file should be emailed to, with a subject line "IB Postdoc Application: ". Applications must be received by January 11, 2013. For questions about this position, please send an email to, or contact a prospective faculty mentor in the department.
We encourage applications from candidates that have recently completed, or will soon complete, their Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Advice for grad students and post docs seeking tenure track positions

I came across this blog today, and although it is a little bit depressing (there are only so many tenure-track positions to go around!), I think there is good advice within. In particular, note that every single postdoc interviewed for the blog stressed the importance of publications and perseverance.

This blog also led me to the following two articles with advice for graduate school and beyond. The second is much less cynical than the first, but they both contain good advice and food for thought. I especially like Huey's assertion (in the second article) that "Contrary to widespread opinion, writing and publishing can be fun. More important, the process of writing is a positive learning experience - my understanding of my own research is invariably enhanced while developing a paper or grant proposal." Sure, writing is hard work, but in the end, it gives your research context and meaning for an audience beyond your graduate committee.

I am often asked, how did I end up in a tenure-track position? Of course, there were many contributing factors. But, I can highlight two key points: (1) I was no superstar, but I had a respectable publication list (about 10) from my PhD and postdoc. (2) The job was just the right fit - my research experiences meant I could teach the specialty upper division classes that needed to be taught, and I could perform research in a relevant field that complimented the research interests of other faculty. I didn't find that "perfect fit" right away, but kept looking anyway. So, the blogs above were right: (1) publications and (2) perseverance got me to where I am today.

Friday, July 27, 2012

TPWD position for recent grads

Position Title: Natural Resource Specialist I-III/Hydroacoustic Survey Specialist

Agency: Coastal Fisheries Division, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)

Job Location: TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab – Dickinson, TX

Responsibilities:  Under the direction of the Upper Coast Regional Director, the Natural Resources Specialist performs duties directly related to the collection, processing and dissemination of acoustic survey data for the conservation, management, restoration and monitoring of oyster habitat and ecosystem-based coastal management.  Assists with design, construction and monitoring of oyster habitat restoration/mitigation projects.  Provides leadership to staff and program coordination.  Assists with data analysis, report and grant writing, and USCOE permit applications.  Operates equipment safely and maintains fisheries specific gear, equipment and facilities.  Promotes public awareness of Department and Program activities.  Performs additional duties as assigned.  Complies with all Agency, Division and Branch rules, regulations and procedures.

Working Conditions: (1) Required to work hours other than 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with days off other than Saturday, Sunday and holidays as needed; (2) Required to travel with possible overnight stays; (3) Required to perform work outdoors, occasionally in adverse weather conditions; (4) Non-smoking environment in State buildings and vehicles.  NOTE25% Travel required for this position.
Minimum Qualifications:

·        Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a relevant BA/BS degree in Biology; Mariculture or Fisheries Science; Ecology; or one of the natural sciences or closely related field.

·        Experience:
·        Natural Resources Specialist (NRS) I: No experience required.
·        NRS II: Two years’ relevant experience required.
·        NRS III: Six years relevant experience.

·        License/Certifications: Must possess or be able to obtain, within 30 days of employment, a valid Class "C" Texas driver's license. NOTE: Retention of position contingent upon obtaining and maintaining license. 

·        Preferred Licensure:

1.      A current Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) certification.

Additional Requirements; Knowledge, Skills & Abilities; Salary; Application and all other Information: may be found at and click on Job #12-00-596   

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wildlife Biologist position in Naples, FL for college grads

Job Title:Wildlife Biologist
Department:Department Of The Interior
Agency:Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Job Announcement Number:R4-12-692886-HW


$31,315.00 to $40,706.00 / Per Year


Friday, June 29, 2012 to Wednesday, July 11, 2012




Full Time - Term NTE 4-Years




1 vacancy(s) in the following locations:
Naples, FL United States


United States Citizens
This position is located with the Department Of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeasten Region, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Naples, FL. In this position the incumbent collects basic data from field investigations of habitat management and restoration actions and makes observations in which biological conditions are readily identifiable.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Artist Boat Internship for recent graduates

Eco-Art Educator/Interpreter
Hourly Position

Artist Boat is seeking two motivated, creative, and self-starting art and science educators with environmental backgrounds to deliver Eco-Art Workshops and Adventures to the communities of the Houston/Galveston Region.

Job Description: Primary duty is to assist Eco-Art Educators in interpretation of habitats, ecosystems, science, and the environment through the disciplines of science and art for people of all ages engaging in Eco-Art experiences with the Artist Boat.  Interpreter must be able to clearly and enthusiastically:
·       Be able to work with a team member who is specialist in science or art in a professional and positive manner in the field, office, and via technology;
·       Present art and/or science skills and knowledge to students and adults in order to facilitate the creation of works of art interpreting the coastal margins and marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico in classrooms and outdoor events (kayaks, vessel, walking, and restoration);
·       Master the content of the natural history of the region, species identification;
·       Maintain 1st aid and CPR certification;
·       Interact with persons of all ages in a positive, professional, encouraging, and informative manner;
·       Lift 60 pounds, load and unload a kayak trailer, spend 8 hours outside on a regular basis;
·       Clean and maintain all equipment used for programs;
·       Represent the Artist Boat and the mission of the Artist Boat during events and in the community,
·       Fully understand the different challenges and constraints and hard work associated with non-profit work;
·       Be able to attend ACA Kayak Certification Course, dates to be determined last week of May or first week of June;
·       Be able to lead classes indoors and outdoors in a manner that exemplifies place-based and experiential learning through use of hands-on and minds-on techniques in the disciplines of art and science;
·       Must have completed a Bachelors of Science (marine sciences or natural resources or Fine Arts);
·       Must be able to drive a standard vehicle, pass a background check, and trailer vessels;
·       Be living in the region and able to start work between May 16 and May 25, 2012.

Other duties may entail:
·       Driving to various sites for events in own vehicle;
·       Represent Artist Boat in media (newspapers, magazines, etc).

Expectations of the job:
·       Hours will be available throughout the week and weekend on an as needed bases;
·       Have cell phone for use in field or emergencies;
·       Arrive on time;
·       Communicate effectively with supervisor;
·       Submit time sheets and administrative paperwork on time;
·       Reliable mode of transportation.

One to two years experience in arts, outdoors, and/or environmental education; and Bachelor of Fine Arts and/or Bachelors of Science

Starting pay: $12 - $14 an hour with possibility of permanent full time hire within 30 – 60 days

Send cover letter and resume including 3 references listed to LuAnne Ashley via United States Postal Service to
2415 Avenue K, Galveston, Texas 77550.