PhD position

PhD applications are no longer being accepted to begin in the fall of 2017. Check back for the 2017 application season (beginning in the fall of 2018).

A PhD Graduate student position with Dr. Matthew Helmus is available at Temple University’s Center for Biodiversity for Fall 2017. Dr. Helmus runs a joint lab in the Center with Dr. Jocelyn Behm that is focused on integrating biodiversity science with human ecology to understand contemporary patterns of biodiversity and its functioning within ecosystems.

The PhD student will research the drivers of past and present patterns of amphibian and reptile functional island biogeography. Activities performed may include:

  • functional trait measurement
  • genetic sequencing
  • data mining (literature and museum specimens)
  • Caribbean field work
  • managing undergraduate research assistants
  • quantitative method development

Applicants must have prior research experience and a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in biology, environmental science, or other quantitative field. Ideal applicants are those with experience in ecology, macroevolution, statistics, and/or herpetology; but most importantly, the successful applicant will be well-organized, able to work both independently and in a team setting, and motivated to learn. This position is ideal for those craving a career in the exciting, fast-paced world of biodiversity science.

Full applications are due to Temple’s Graduate School on December 15 (November 15 for international applicants). However, interested applicants should initially contact Dr. Helmus well in advance of the deadline. Include in this initial contact your CV, unofficial transcript, and a brief statement of interest that describes your relevant background experiences, why you are interested in the position, and questions you have about the research, etc. Applicants are strongly encouraged to first peruse the lab website and publications prior to contact.

The Center for Biodiversity is located in a new LEED-Gold certified building on Temple's main campus in historic Philadelphia. The Center provides state-of-the-art biodiversity research facilities along with support staff with expertise in media development, GIS technology, and genetics. Temple University, founded in 1884, is a public R1 university with a diverse student body of ca. 40,000 students. It is the sixth largest provider of graduate school education in the U.S.A., is within the top 4% of research institutions in the U.S.A., and is in the top ten of the fastest gainers in ranking by the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the U.S.A., filled with numerous attractions (e.g., Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Zoo, Academy of Natural Sciences), amazing food, and a quick train ride to New York City and Washington DC. Philadelphia is nestled within an extensive national/state trail and park system, and is very close to Valley Forge National Park, the Pocono Mountains, the unique Pine Barren ecosystem, and the beaches of the Atlantic shore.

Temple University is an equal opportunity, equal access, affirmative action employer committed to achieving a diverse community.



Postdocs looking to secure their own funding are strongly encouraged to contact me with inquires and possible proposal targets. For those exceptional applicants working to secure their own funding for potentially high-profile project ideas, postdoctorial funds might also be made available through the Center for Biodiversity.

Blair Hedges (head of the Center) is still (as of July 2016) accepting applications for a well-qualified postdoc (see here). Our lab works closely with his and I encourage you to contact him directly.