Monday, January 19, 2015

New collaboration and study site: MPG Ranch in Montana

Syntrichia ruralis

Peltigera rufescense

Thunderstorm over the Bitterroots.

Joshua Lisbon, Kyle Doherty and Philip Ramsey on the way up Mt. Baldy.

Soil surface from the same location as above, featuring Diploschistes muscorum and friends.

I am absolutely delighted to hear that we'll be able to initiate a new research collaboration with MPG Ranch in Montana this year. MPG Ranch features intriguing land use histories, steep environmental gradients, an active restoration program, and crusts...lots of 'em. Oh, and its absolutely beautiful and close to one of the best cities in the USA, Missoula. Emphatic thanks to Rebecca Durham, Philip Ramsey, Joshua Lisbon, and Dan Mummey for the excellent tour last summer, and assistance in developing this collaboration. We hope to make MPG Ranch a northern cornerstone of our biocrust restoration research program.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ph.D. Student opening in post-fire restoration using mosses

The School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, seeks a motivated Ph.D. student to conduct field and greenhouse experiments near Flagstaff, Arizona starting in Fall 2015. The student will be co-advised by Matthew Bowker and Pete Fulé. The student will explore the feasibility of using greenhouse cultured soil mosses as a restoration material to reduce erosion and restore hydrological function after severe wildfire. The project will: 1. Develop best practices for ex-situ cultivation of a multi-species fire moss inoculum. 2. Determine field establishment rates of greenhouse-produced fire moss inoculum on burned soil. 3. Document the ecological roles of fire mosses in post-fire succession in Arizona ponderosa pineforests. 4. Conduct a preliminary economic feasibility analysis of a hypothetical post-fire restoration technology based on mosses. Four years of funding are available to the student (Annual stipend of $19,950, tuition remission, and student health coverage) in addition to modest project costs. The student will be strongly encouraged and helped to seek additional resources (grants, scholarships, etc.) to help extend the project.
            Research Environment: The School of Forestry is one of the top Forestry Schools in the nation, and a productive research environment, with faculty members specializing in a variety of ecological topics such as landscape ecology, ecological restoration, plant ecophysiology, entomology, hydrology, and soil ecology among other topics.
            Preferred Qualifications: Master of Science in Forestry, Biology, Environmental Science or related field, or a Bachelor of Science in these fields supplemented with research experience (undergraduate thesis, capstone or internship, or employment-related experience). Candidates with field research experience will be strongly favored, especially in maintenance and construction of field experiments. Candidates with previous experience in soil ecology and/or fire ecology will also be favored. Field work will take place in remote areas, elevation 7000-9000 feet, with steep and rugged terrain. The candidate must satisfy all requirements set by the School of Forestry, and Northern Arizona University.
Admissions requirements (Deadline March 15, 2015):

    GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale in all college and university work
    GRE scores in the top 40th percentile
    If English is not your native language:
    a score of at least 80 on the internet-based TOEFL or
    550 on the paper-based TOEFL or
    213 on the computer-based TOEFL
    Three letters of recommendation

How to apply:  First contact us directly (, to state your research interests, and motivations for attending graduate school, with “fire moss graduate student inquiry” in the header. Please provide a resume or C.V., and provide your GRE scores and GPA. If we agree that you are a good match for the position, we will encourage you to apply to the program.

Useful Links

Dr. Bowker’s web page -

Dr. Fulé’s web page -é/

School of Forestry -

SOF Ph.D. program -