I’m excited to be joining the Marine Biology Department faculty at Texas A&M Galveston as of January 1, 2019.

I currently have openings for a technician (start date negotiable; see below) and graduate students to start Fall 2019 (deadline to apply is Dec 1). Undergraduate opportunities and internships will be available beginning spring semester 2019.

I do not currently have a funded postdoc position available. If you are interested in working with me as a postdoc, I am happy to support applications for external funding.  Please email me with your interests.

Graduate Student Opportunities

I am accepting graduate student applications for PhD and Masters-by-thesis students this winter, to begin Fall 2019 through the Interdisciplinary Degree Program in Marine Biology.

Positions will be fully funded through a combination of research assistantships, fellowships, and TA-ships. Students should have research interests related to global change in benthic marine/estuarine communities and ecosystems. My lab works largely in oyster reefs and/or fouling communities dominated by invertebrates. Diving and boating experience is encouraged but not required. Feel free to contact me with questions. More about research in my lab can be found here. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2018. (Here’s a helpful blog post on inquiring to potential graduate mentors.)

Application procedure

Prospective students should begin by reviewing the research themes in my lab. Then, look at the program website and application requirements at TAMUG, and finally, send me an email with concise answers to the following questions. Please attach your CV and a writing sample. Title all attachments with your last name (e.g., “Jurgens_CV.pdf”). I will follow up with top candidates to discuss moving forward. It is best if you start this process soon, so we can talk before the application deadline of Dec 1, and also figure out an application fee ($50) waiver if you need one. Please note that the GRE is currently required, but I am aware that it is a poor predictor of graduate success, so please do not let the requirement deter you (see also free study resources and GRE fee reduction information).

  1. What are your research interests and why? How do they align with the lab? (You do not need to have an exact thesis/dissertation project proposal, but I encourage you to provide examples of potential projects you would be interested in pursuing.)
  2. Are you pursuing a Master’s degree or a PhD and why do you want that degree? What do you hope to do with it? (There is no “right” answer here, but it will help me understand your goals.)

Include all prior jobs on your CV, including non-academic ones, and note if you were in school at the time. Prior work experience, regardless of the job, is looked on favorably, as are the experiences and skills built by first-generation, transfer, and re-entry students. I strongly encourage students of color, students with disabilities, international students, and LGBTQIA students to apply. My lab deeply values equity, inclusion, and diversity, as does TAMUG. Human diversity improves science and enhances our intellectual community. We also realize there are extra challenges for people who contribute to diversifying science, and we are prepared to support you.

Is this the right lab for you?

I am best suited to advise students interested in field and laboratory-based experimental ecology, especially studies of interactions among organisms, populations, communities, and the physical environment.

I make a deep commitment to every student who works with me, and each will receive a substantial amount of my time and our lab’s resources. In return, I require students joining my lab to be curious, deeply motivated, have plenty of initiative, and be willing to ask questions. Successful students will have personal resilience, solid oral and written communication skills, be able to work independently and as part of a team, and be mature enough to seek and receive feedback from a variety of sources. That said, I do provide professional development training as well as more typical academic mentorship.

My goal to support graduate students as they develop into scientific leaders who will launch themselves creatively and thoughtfully into investigating problems facing people and nature. I strive to create a supportive, engaging environment for students to build their skills and develop their own research niches.

Mentee references

Choosing a graduate advisor is serious business. A good fit with an advisor makes graduate training, and all the steps along your future career path, more fulfilling and much smoother. I strongly recommend talking to previous mentees of any advisor you are considering, including me. I am happy to put you in touch with students I’ve mentored so you can get a better sense of my advising style.

Marine Biology at Texas A&M Galveston

TAMUG has fantastic resources for graduate study and is the ocean-focused branch of the main campus of Texas A&M (in College Station). Located right on the water, we have a wet lab with running seawater, a fleet of small boats, an extensive scientific diving program, a diverse group of Marine Biology graduate students, plentiful TA opportunities, access to graduate courses online across the TAMU system, and a fantastic faculty with broad expertise. Galveston is a fun, diverse town close to Houston, on an island with extensive history, parks, bayous, and beaches. Cost of living is low. And yes, we have a very good hurricane evacuation plan.

Technician Opportunity

I am seeking a full-time technician who will work closely with me to help launch this new lab. The technician will help implement experiments investigating marine invertebrate community/ecosystem ecology and effects of extreme events in the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. The technician will maintain experiments and monitoring equipment, help ensure lab and field safety, and help with fabrication, deployment, and data management for all experiments.

Location: Texas A&M Galveston (TAMUG)
Duration: One full year with potential for extension. Start date is negotiable but ideally will be between January and April 2019.

Duties: Assisting with lab and field experiments, equipment ordering and maintenance, ensuring lab and field safety, data stewardship, helping supervise undergraduate interns, helping manage lab budgets.


Required qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in ecology, marine biology or a related field; demonstrable field experience; solid organizational skills; and familiarity with marine experimental operations. Demonstrated work experience and communication skills are required, as is commitment to equity, inclusion, and supporting diverse team members. Willingness to learn small boat operations and attain scientific dive certification if not already AAUS certified (costs will be covered) and willingness to travel within reason are also required.

Additional desired qualifications: Familiarity with Gulf ecosystems is highly desired, especially invertebrates; professional experience implementing marine field research and/or Master’s degree by thesis in a relevant field; AAUS certification; boat operation experience; familiarity with YSI and SONDE maintenance; data management skills. A good sense of humor and a tendency to be reasonably functional in the morning are also helpful.

Compensation: Salary range will be $36,000 to $42,000 with benefits. Exact figure will be determined by experience and education.

To apply: Send a cover letter detailing your experience, how it is relevant to the job, and why you are interested in the job, along with a CV and three professional references to ljurgens [at] ucdavis [dot] edu. Please title all attachments with your last name. Include your preferred start date and availability, as well as your long-term career interests in your cover letter (Are you interested in a permanent position if that were possible? A year extension? Moving into a PhD program here or elsewhere?)