***I seek two graduate students (MS or PhD) to begin spring or fall 2018.

Thanks for your interest in joining our lab group! Please read this page and some of our publications to get a feel for our lab philosophy and approach to doing science.

Nuts and Bolts

Graduate Students  –  I accept graduate students through the following programs at UMass Amherst:

Application deadlines vary by program and spring semester enrollment is a possibility. We can discuss these details and program fit based on your interests and career objectives. *PSM: Professional Science Masters

Undergraduates – we will be on the lookout for bright and motivated undergraduate students who have an interest in marine ecology. These opportunities will most likely manifest in spring/summer 2018. It may be possible to gain research experience and obtain course credit at the same time. Stay tuned!

Postdocs – Currently, there is not any funding to support postdoctoral fellows but I am happy to discuss opportunities within the lab via internal or external funding. Postdocs should consider applying for a Darwin Fellowship through the UMass Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program, a two-year research and lecture fellowship (Deadline: Jan 20). You should also check out this impressive list of postdoc funding sources.

Lab Philosophy

Graduate school is a wonderful time to grow as a scientist, yet it is also a sacrifice of time and effort. Choose wisely! Perhaps one of the most important elements in a graduate school experience is the fit between the advisor and student. In mentoring, I favor a holistic approach that fosters the growth of the student as an independent scientist and your development of skills. I wish for my students to go forth and be productive citizens in academia, management, conservation, or elsewhere. We also have an interest in STEM diversity and inclusion. We value effective science communication (example 1, 2, 3). Engaging with stakeholders, the mass media, and other scientists is important to me and I encourage lab members to hone their ‘scicomm’ skills as well.

Our research interests are generally focused on both applied and fundamental questions in marine ecology and global change biology. Brian’s interests are centered on climate change, species interactions (especially predator-prey), organismal physiology, and biological invasions. Increasingly, I am involved in research synthesis via meta-analysis. However, I am more than happy to advise students who have interests in general questions in marine ecology and global change (provided there is reasonable overlap in my expertise and the research). This is particularly the case for PhD students who have a bit more time to develop ideas in areas distinct from my own.


We expect lab members to be a part of the vibrant academic community within the Department of ECo, UMass, and the community at large. I do not wish to micro-manage your schedule, but I do expect lab members to contribute and be present. This could mean: helping your lab mates do field work, process samples, sharing/blogging your statistical scripts, or other creative/productive endeavors.

We expect graduate students to publish their research. Even if you intend to pursue a career path outside of academia, publishing is a valuable experience that demonstrates your ability to manage projects, write well, and get stuff done! Publishing your research also means that you have contributed to the collective knowledge of humankind. Isn’t that reason enough?

In essence, our laboratory group works hard and plays hard!

For my part, you can expect Brian to:

  • Be an engaged mentor who will offer guidance and expertise where and when needed
  • Provide timely, constructive feedback on proposals, theses, manuscripts (given sufficient lead time)
  • Have a vested interest in your success as a scientist and citizen

Why us?

This is a fantastic time to join us. The possibilities for exciting applied and basic marine research are numerous. Lab members have many opportunities to interact and collaborate with faculty in the Department of Environmental Conservation, Biology, the Five Colleges Consortium, and governmental partners. UMass Amherst is also the flagship school within the University of Massachusetts system, offering a superb educational experience. Our undergraduate and graduate students experience extremely high job placement rates in academia, management, conservation, and the private sector.

In collaboration with the Headwaters to Oceans Group (Jordaan Lab), the Danylchuk Lab, and the Komoroske Lab, our marine ecology lab group will play a large role in building marine science at UMass. In particular, we will expand our usage of the Gloucester Marine Station, a 3,000 square foot facility that will house a newly installed flow-through seawater system in addition to our brand new research vessel (most likely a 22′ forward cabin fiberglass boat). There may be additional opportunities to utilize field stations and sites both near and far, such as: Shoals Marine Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution (e.g. Bocas del Toro, Carrie Bow Cay, SMS Fort Pierce, SERC), and the Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Amherst is also a great place to live! It was recently ranked #6 in Small Towns of the United States. The Pioneer Valley has a high density of organic farms, local breweries, and is within striking distance of the Berkshire Mountains to the west and Boston to the east.

What now?

If you’re interested in joining our lab group, please send me an email with your CV and a short description of your research interests.