Advice to Students
For prospective students
The new realities of financing research and graduate studies mean incoming graduate students should find their own support for the first year at least. For exceptional candidates, CCL may offer some continuing support if you both (a) manage to cover your tuition and living expenses in year one, and (b) meet the following criteria:
- You are committed to work on carnivore management or conservation.
- Your GRE scores are in the 90th percentiles and GPA from a top-tier university exceeds 3.5.
- If you narrowly miss these criteria but you have exceptional research experience (e.g., a published paper) I may reconsider.
Choosing your topic
The three Ps:
Pertinence: pick a research question that is urgent, important, and interests many people.
Passion: pick a research topic you are excited to understand better and methods you enjoy using.
Practicality: pick a project you can complete with 1-2 years of data collection plus 1-2 years of analysis, interpretation, and writing (lower end for Masters and higher for Doctorates).
The important research questions in our field (as we see them and in no particular order):
- Do problem* carnivores differ in behavioral ecology from non-problem* individuals?
- How does carnivore spatial ecology (movement, dispersal, range) and reproductive ecology (mating, birth, parental care) influence conflicts with people?
- How do landscape characteristics influence carnivore conflicts with people?
- What respective roles will private lands and protected areas play in carnivore conservation?
- What are the spatial-temporal patterns of carnivore mortality from human causes?
- How do direct and indirect trophic effects of top predators shape the function of agro-ecosystems?
- How does wild prey availability affect carnivore conflicts with people?
- How does tolerance for carnivores change?
- How does human behavior and husbandry shape vulnerability to carnivore damages?
- Can market-based incentives promote carnivore conservation?
- How does one measure and balance sociopolitical acceptance, cost-effectiveness,and long-term sustainability of interventions to mitigate human-carnivore conflict?
- What political, social, and individual factors influence human causes of mortality for carnivores?
* defined here as those individuals that attack livestock, damage crops, or threaten people.
My criteria for co-authorship:
A co-author must contribute substantially to 3 of 5 tasks associated with writing a scientific article:
- concept & research design
- data collection
- data analysis & interpretation
- writing & submitting