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Graduate Student Opportunities

The graduate program in the Department of Biology at East Carolina University invites applications from prospective PhD and MS students. East Carolina University is the third largest campus in the University of NC system and has an active and well-supported group of faculty working in the areas of ecology and evolution. Approximately 70 MS students and 25 doctoral students enroll in our graduate programs. Students admitted to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences biology concentration are guaranteed assistantship support for five years through a combination of teaching and research assistantships. In addition to the stipends, students are provided complete in-state tuition remissions and out-of-state students are provided with one year of out-of-state remission and an opportunity to qualify for in-state residency status. TA-ships are readily available in our two MS programs and Biology faculty members also supervise students in ECU's Coastal Resource Management PhD program.

Some of the goals of the East Carolina Biodiversity Initiative (ECBI) include the provision of training to graduate students in biodiversity research and providing opportunities for graduate students to participate in related outreach and teaching. The ECBI has established a computing lab with computers and software to facilitate the ability of students and their mentors to conduct research in the field of biodiversity by providing them with a variety of cutting edge statistical (SAS, PRIMER, R), geographic (ArcGIS), mathematical (Matlab), ecological modeling (STELLA), image analysis (ImageJ), phylogenetic (BEAST, MrBayes, PAML, and Migrate-N), bioinformatics (Sequencher, Geneious), sound analysis (RAVEN), and graphical (Sigmaplot, Adobe Master Collection) programs. Students would also have access to other high end computing resources and research facilities in the Department of Biology as well. A readily available 454 sequencer at ECU's Brody School of Medicine facilitates genomic research.    

Our students enjoy living in the affordable community of Greenville, NC, participating in seminar series and journal clubs that feature research in ecology and evolution, and having access to several natural areas, universities and research centers located in central and eastern NC. We are in easy reach of North Carolina's Research Triangle (including the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center), the marine institutes and laboratories in Beaufort and Morehead City, and the diverse natural communities of the Coastal Plain and the Outer Banks. Thus excellent opportunities exist for collaboration and to work in terrestrial, aquatic, wetland and marine systems. Travel is convenient through either Pitt-Greenville or Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Application deadlines vary with particular programs but students applying early will have a greater chance of receiving financial support. Please visit to find out more about our department, faculty and graduate programs. In addition to visiting departmental and faculty websites, please contact prospective mentors directly or our director of graduate studies, Dr. Ed Stellwag (, for more information.

Our Evolution and Ecology faculty ( include:

Chris Balakrishnan: Comparative genomics

April Blakeslee (Conservation, Invasion, Parasite and Marine Ecology)

Michael Brewer (Bioinformatics and Genomics)

Kris Callis-Duehl (STEM Education)

David Chalcraft: Population and community ecology; ecological aspects of biodiversity.

Robert Christian: Systems and network theory; ecology of coastal ecosystems.

Erin Field (Geomicrobiology, Marine Microbial Processes, Microbial Genomics)

Carol Goodwillie: Plant mating system evolution.

Jinling Huang: Evolutionary genomics, bioinformatics; horizontal gene transfer.

Fadi Issa (Neurobiology and Behavior)

Claudia Jolls: Plant evolutionary ecology and conservation.

Trip Lamb: Systematics and phylogeography.

Joe Luczkovich: Food web ecology and fish bioacoustics.

Krista McCoy: Ecological development and physiology

Mike McCoy: Quantitative population and community ecology

Jeff McKinnon: Sexual selection, speciation in fish.

Sue McRae: Behavioral ecology and social evolution in birds.

Ariane Peralta: Microbial Ecology

Enrique Reyes: Landscape ecology, ecological modeling, coastal management.

Roger Rulifson: Fisheries Biology and management.

Jean-Luc Scemama: Post-duplication gene evolution.

Ed Stellwag: Vertebrate evo-devo and cis-regulatory network evolution.

John Stiller: Molecular evolution and comparative genomics.

Kyle Summers: Evolution of color, behavior in poison frogs; evolutionary medicine.

Heather Vance-Chalcraft: Predation and community ecology.

Baohong Zhang: MicroRNA evolution, comparative genomics, and molecular genetics.

In addition to visiting the websites, please contact prospective mentors directly for more information, or graduate studies director Ed Stellwag:

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