M.S. & Ph.D. Research and Funding Opportunities

Some of the research and funding opportunities for Fall 2021 applicants are highlighted below. Clicking on the topic of interest will give you additional details and a link to the sponsoring faculty member. If you don't see an opportunity below, it just means that you will need to contact individual VIMS faculty directly to learn about opportunities in their research group.  Tip: When contacting faculty, it helps if you provide a succinct overview of your qualifications and interests and state clearly why you are interested in a particular faculty member's program.

Coastal Physical Oceanography

Contact: Dr. Piero Mazzini

Ph.D. opportunity in coastal physical oceanography is available to work with Dr. Piero Mazzini in the Coastal Oceanography Lab. The PhD student will participate in the NSF funded, multi-institutional research project: River Plume-Cape Interaction - Plume Separation from the Coastal Wall, Vorticity Generation and Fresh Water Retention. Prospective Ph.D. students who possess or are completing a M.S. degree (or equivalent degree) in physical oceanography, atmospheric, or climate sciences or a related field and who have broad knowledge of physical oceanography and/or fluid dynamics are encouraged to apply. 

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Mazzini directly.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Contact: Dr. Juliette Smith

The Smith Lab is currently looking for a highly motivated chemist or biochemist, interested in investigating bioactive chemicals (toxins) produced by harmful algal blooms (HABs), to start graduate school (M.S. or Ph.D.) in Fall 2021. Research will focus on the persistence and degradation of algal toxins in the Chesapeake Bay and will have applications for aquaculture under changing climate conditions. Successful applicants should have a B.S. or M.S. degree in environmental science, chemistry, or biochemisty. Students with previous analytical chemistry experience are especially encouraged to apply (e.g., LC-MS/MS, UHPLC, GC-MS, NMR, purification). Further information can be found on the Research Lab page. Interested individuals should contact Dr. Juliette Smith with your resume/CV, a brief description of your research interests, and unofficial transcripts. 

Historical and Future Impacts of Climate Change on Acidification of Chesapeake Bay: an Assessment of the Vulnerability of Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration

Contact: Dr. Marjy Friedrichs and Dr. Emily Rivest

Funding is available for a graduate position under the co-advisement of Dr. Marjy Friedrichs and Dr. Emily Rivest. Prospective M.S. or Ph.D. students interested in using a quantitative approach to study the historical and future impacts of climate change on acidification of Chesapeake Bay are encouraged to apply. However, students interested in a diversity of topics are welcome. This position is supported by an interdisciplinary project about the vulnerability of oyster aquaculture and restoration to ocean acidification and co-stressors. Preference will be given to students with an interdisciplinary background including college-level courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. We particularly encourage members from diverse backgrounds to apply - we strive to promote the contributions of under-represented groups in the marine sciences. For more information, please contact Dr. Friedrichs and/or Dr. Rivest.

Impacts of Climate and Land-Use Changes on Hypoxia and Acidification in Coastal Waters

Contact: Dr. Marjy Friedrichs

Funding is available in the BioCOM lab of Dr. Marjy Friedrichs for quantitative and interdisciplinary graduate students interested in studying historical and future impacts of climate and land-use change on hypoxia and acidification of the Chesapeake Bay and coastal mid-Atlantic Bight waters. Prospective M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students interested in combining mathematical models with biological, physical, and chemical observations are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to candidates with strong quantitative backgrounds, including college-level physics, chemistry, and/or math coursework, and at least some computer programming experience.

Novel Techniques to Reduce Bycatch

Contact: Dr. David Rudders

Dr. David Rudders is welcoming applicants for an anticipated project focused on the use of novel techniques to reduce bycatch.  The prospective M.S. student will join a diverse team of academic, government, and industry partners to explore the use of artificial light as a means to reduce the bycatch of Pacific halibut in the Bering Sea and West Coast groundfish trawl fisheries.  Conservation engineering approaches to improve species selectivity in these fisheries are challenging due to similarities between halibut and the target catch. We endeavor to build off promising results for the use of artificial light to further test their efficacy on the West Coast and evaluate whether this approach can similarly be used to reduce halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea fishery. Students with previous experience with data analysis, field data collection, and an interest in cooperative fisheries research and conservation engineering are encouraged to apply. For more information, please contact Dr. David Rudders.

Overwintering Habitat and Post-Release Mortality in Cobia

Contact: Dr. Kevin Weng

Dr. Kevin Weng is welcoming applications for a funded graduate position in the Weng Lab to support a new research project. This project aims to further research into Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) and produce sufficient information to generate reliable stock assessments. The aims of this project include developing a new method for tag attachment and to generate data for estimates of post-release mortality. Prospective M.S. or Ph.D. students interested in studying Cobia and supporting the stock assessments of this important fishery are encouraged to apply. For more information, please contact Dr. Kevin Weng. 

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Contact Information and Mailing Address for Application Materials
Office of Academic Studies - Admissions
Gloucester Point, VA 23062  USA
e-mail: Office of Academic Studies - Admissions
Telephone: (804) 684-7105
Fax: (804) 684-7881