FIU-Rookery Bay Research and Education Graduate Assistantship

The FIU-Rookery Bay Research and Education Graduate Assistantship will be awarded on a competitive basis annually to a FIU graduate student who will conduct research in the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR). The purpose of this award is to incentivize research into scientific questions relevant to both the student’s graduate student research as well as to the management needs of RBNERR.

Located just 2 hours west of Miami in Naples, FL, RBNERR is one of 30 coastal sites within the NERR System designated to protect and study estuarine systems. Encompassing an area of approximately ~110,000 acres, RBNERR includes both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Potential study areas span a variety of habitats from the urban-wildland interface to the waters of the Ten Thousand Islands. Priority coastal management issues for RBNERR include environmental change, water quality, and habitat protection.

Applications should be submitted by March 1st (for support starting at the beginning of the next Fall academic term) to the Director of the Coastlines and Oceans Division of the Institute of Environment, and the selection of the awardee will be done by a committee of RBNERR and IoE staff. Awards will be announced by April 1st. The awardee will receive a GA contract from the College of Arts Sciences and Education (CASE) at the current rate for GA contracts in their academic department, as well as a tuition waiver.


Preference will be shown for students who intend to develop a close partnership with RBNERR staff and/or can make use of the data sets generated by the RBNERR. We encourage students to reach out to RBNERR staff to make connections between their proposed research and RBNERR’s management needs. The student will also be expected to serve as a subject matter expert as part of education and outreach conducted in the Reserve with either the Education or Coastal Training Programs to gain valuable experience in education and communications. The incumbent will be expected to present their research during seminars at RBNERR at the start and conclusion of the project and to present a poster at the NERRS annual meeting (with a copy of the poster to be held at RBNERR).

Students will be expected to have a regular presence at RBNERR during the period of their assistantship. Data generated will be shared by RBNERR, the FIU graduate student, and their advisor. While the intention is that all will collaborate on publications together, each participant has the option to use the data for an independent research or management effort.


Application Information

To apply, please submit the following as a single PDF to Dr. James Fourqurean and include in the subject line FIU-RBNERR Assistantship:

  • CV from the student
  • Three-page project description that includes the management need addressed by the research and the proposed avenue for engaging in education and outreach
  • Two letters of support including 1 from their major academic advisor and 1 from a RBNERR staff member

For more information about this opportunity and to connect with RBNERR staff, please email Dr. Danielle Ogurcak (RBNERR Interdisciplinary Science Manager)

Included in Assistantship 

  • Dormitory space to house the student
  • Access to RBNERR research infrastructure, including boats, laboratory space and computer facilities
  • Training as needed, field support, research design advice, and supportive connections with RBNERR partners