Ph.D. Assistantship - Application and Evaluation of Virtual Fencing for Precision Grazing Management, Grassland Health, and Wildlife Habitat

Texas Tech University

One Ph.D. research assistantship position is available to participate in a funded effort to evaluate new precision grazing technologies for rangeland cattle in the Rolling Plains and Cross Timbers regions of Texas. The project will compare traditional grazing management (continuous grazing) with virtual fencing (adaptive grazing) and evaluate effects on grassland health, wildlife habitat, and associated ecosystem services. The study will apply a systems approach to examining the grazing livestock production process, with a specific focus on promoting and improving habitat for grassland obligate birds. The Ph.D. student will be responsible for operating virtual fencing systems, monitoring livestock behavior and performance, assisting with captures and counts of grassland obligate gamebirds and songbirds, and executing rangeland surveys and vegetation analyses. Field work will take place on two cooperating producer properties, one in the Rolling Plains ecoregion and one in the Cross Timbers ecoregion. The Ph.D. student will be housed in the Department of Natural Resources Management within the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The position is available beginning June 2023. The successful candidate will receive a full tuition waiver and a competitive 12-month stipend.

Required Qualifications:
(1) A M.S. degree in Animal Science or Rangeland Science, or closely related field by Jan. 2022; (2) research experience, preferably with livestock or rangeland studies; and (3) excellent written and oral communication skills; (4) Valid driver’s license. Knowledge of beef cattle production and grazing, creative and innovative problem-solving abilities, and students who have already received an MS degree are preferred.