Potential Graduate Students

Contact me by e-mail if you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree under my direction here at Auburn University. In your e-mail, please be explicit regarding 1) how your research interests align with mine, 2) how hypothesis-driven research can help answer the scientific questions you are interested in and finally, 3) how you anticipate communicating your research findings and why it is important to do so. Include your C.V. as well as your GPA and GRE scores (Auburn requirements include a 3.0 GPA and 153 verbal and 144 quantitative GRE scores).  I encourage you to check out these posts out before crafting your e-mail (1, 2, and 3). I look forward to hearing from you!

I do not accept graduate students without funding to support them. There are generally two mechanisms to obtain funding: teaching assistantships and research assistantships. Follow this link to find out more about teaching assistantships offered by the department of Biological Sciences. Research assistantships become available when grant proposals are funded. If research assistantships become available, I will advertise those positions and list them here. Another potential for graduate student support includes fellowships secured by the applicant (i.e., you, some examples are here).  Note that the deadline for applying to the Department of Biological Sciences is February 1st. I have already selected graduate students whose applications I will support for fall 2017 and do not currently have additional positions available.

Some general advice for graduate students (Bon Scott et al. 1975).

Undergraduate Research

I encourage Auburn University undergraduates interested in the types of research projects that we do to become familiar with Auburn’s undergraduate research fellowships and send me an e-mail with your ideas or interests. Alternatively, feel free to contact me if you would like to get involved with our projects or develop a research project for credit hours.


The Alabama Natural Heritage Program, a component of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, is in year seven of an effort to reintroduce the federally threatened Eastern Indigo Snake to Alabama. Over one hundred snakes have been released into Conecuh National Forest to date with plans to release approximately 200 more.

In concert with our reintroduction efforts, we have initiated a landscape scale before-after-control-impact experimental design to monitor vertebrate assemblages and determine the ecological impacts of restoring a large generalist predator.

We are seeking two technicians to assist with our efforts. One technician (March-July 2017) will be responsible for conducting bird point counts and maintenance and monitoring of nests within bluebird nest boxes. Another technician (March-September) will be responsible for maintenance and monitoring of 24 drift fence traps and processing of captured animals (with a focus on amphibians and reptiles). Both technicians will be responsible for entering data on a weekly basis.

Pay will be $11 an hour and housing will be provided in or near Conecuh National Forest. Technicians will be required to use their own vehicle (4WD is helpful) and we will be able to contribute towards reimbursement for mileage; a valid driver’s license is required. Both technicians should be able to work independently with minimal supervision, have high attention to detail, and be prepared for working long days in hot, humid, and buggy conditions. The ideal bird technician will have experience identifying birds of the longleaf pine forest by sight and sound. The ideal amphibian/reptile technician should have experience working with and identifying these animals.

We will be evaluating applications as they arrive and the position will remain open until we have identified suitable candidates. Combine a cover letter detailing your interest in the position (and stating the dates of your availability), a CV, and contact information into a single pdf and send to David.Steen@auburn.edu.