Join the lab!

Join the lab!

The Carey Lab is recruiting a postdoc and two Ph.D. students! See below:

Two Ph.D. Student positions:

The Carey Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech has funding for two Ph.D. student positions to start in late Spring/early Summer 2019. We are looking for enthusiastic and highly self-motivated students at the Ph.D. level interested in studying freshwater lakes and reservoirs.

Position 1: We are seeking a Ph.D. student to examine carbon cycling in local drinking water reservoirs. This project involves substantial field sampling with other graduate students and undergraduate assistants to lead a reservoir monitoring program, and will involve multiple opportunities to conduct whole-ecosystem reservoir oxygenation experiments. This position is part of a new NSF-supported project to study the effects of changing oxygen conditions on carbon burial in reservoirs. We aim to recruit a student that has experience in the field and interest in working with high-frequency water quality sensors. This student would interact closely with reservoir managers to help make recommendations for drinking water management decisions.

Position 2: We are seeking a Ph.D. student who will integrate field data with simulation models to study lake water quality responses to changing climate and management. This position is part of a recently-funded, multi-institutional NSF project to develop water quality forecasts for drinking water lakes and reservoirs. This highly interdisciplinary project will involve close collaborations with ecosystem modelers, computer scientists, and social scientists to examine the feedbacks between human decision-making and water quality. We aim to recruit a student with modeling experience and strong quantitative skills. This student would work closely with managers to help develop water quality forecasts that guide their drinking water management.

We seek conscientious and energetic students who can work independently while participating in a fun and highly collaborative lab environment. The Carey Lab is part of the Virginia Tech Stream Team, an internationally-recognized group of faculty and students focused on understanding the community and ecosystem ecology of aquatic habitats. This vibrant research group provides an ideal environment for conducting graduate work within an interactive and supportive community of aquatic and ecosystem scientists. Virginia Tech, as Virginia’s leading research institution, has a strong interdisciplinary focus on the environment and natural sciences. Virginia Tech is located in scenic southwestern Virginia, and its close proximity to ponds, reservoirs, streams, woodlands, and other diverse habitats makes it an ideal location for field studies.

Both student positions will be funded on a combination of teaching and research assistantships, which include a competitive stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance benefits. Interested students should send an email letter of inquiry containing an overview of your research interests, your C.V., an unofficial transcript, a list of past research experiences and mentors, and GRE scores (if available) to  Please feel free to contact me with questions about the application process, graduate school at Virginia Tech, or potential research questions.


Postdoctoral Research Associate in Freshwater Carbon Cycling:

A new position for a postdoctoral research associate will be available in the Carey Lab, a vibrant, highly collaborative, interdisciplinary research team working in freshwater ecosystem science at Virginia Tech. This position will be part of a new NSF project that will study the effects of changing dissolved oxygen availability on carbon cycling in local drinking water reservoirs. This project will address the overarching question: How will increasingly variable oxygen concentrations, due to land use and climate change, alter carbon processing and greenhouse gas emissions in freshwater ecosystems? To address this question, the research team will use whole-ecosystem experiments, high-frequency sensor monitoring, and modeling.

We will be seeking a creative and highly collaborative Ph.D. with significant quantitative research experience in freshwater science and biogeochemistry, especially data analysis and ecosystem modeling. The successful applicant will work with graduate students and faculty to address fundamental questions surrounding the effects of changing oxygen availability on ecosystem dynamics in lakes and reservoirs. Research activities will include: helping to oversee whole-ecosystem oxygenation experiments in which we will switch a reservoir, on demand, between oxic and anoxic conditions to study carbon processing in different redox environments; analyzing field data; using ecosystem simulation models to study the fate of carbon entering reservoirs on minute to decade time scales; and collaborating with reservoir managers and scientists from other universities. The postdoc will work closely with Dr. Paul Hanson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the project.

The position start date will be flexible, aiming to start in Spring/Summer 2019. The position will be for two years, contingent upon a successful one-year review. Candidates must be able to legally work in the U.S. and hold a U.S. driver’s license. We encourage potential candidates to email me ( to discuss the position; an ad posted through Virginia Tech’s HR system will be forthcoming for receiving applications.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Dr. Cayelan Carey



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