Interdisciplinary PhD Position: Marine Mammal Ecology & One Health


The student will be expected to take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the biological, ecological, and social drivers of disease outbreaks in gray and harbor seals in the North Atlantic.  We anticipate that immunogenomic sequencing and epidemiology-informed population models will be used to explore differential species susceptibility, and stakeholder surveys will be used to assess the incorporation of disease risk and public perception in the protected species management decision-making process. The student will also have the opportunity to participate in a related internship with a state, regional, or federal agency or non-profit partner to gain direct experience with relevant policy.

The student will be co-advised by Dr. Kristina Cammen ( and Dr. Carly Sponarski (  Graduate students can join our labs through the School of Marine Sciences or Ecology and Environmental Sciences programs at the University of Maine, located in Orono, an hour to the ocean and an hour and a half to Maine’s highest peak.  As part of the new NRT program, the student will enter these programs as a member of an interdisciplinary cohort of PhD and MS students who share similar interests across One Health. For more information about the interdisciplinary graduate training program in One and the Environment, see our program website here:

  • The successful candidate must have a strong background in marine mammal ecology and/or ecological genomics, as well as a demonstrated interest in human dimensions of wildlife and/or wildlife policy.
  • Prior experience with genetics, genomics, and/or bioinformatics will be particularly beneficial.  
  • Individuals who are intellectually curious, responsible, willing to learn, team-oriented, and have attention to detail are encouraged to apply. 
  • An M.S. in a related field is preferred, but qualified candidates with extensive experience will be considered. 


How to apply/register:

To apply, please send a cover letter describing your qualifications, why you are interested in pursuing a PhD and in this NRT program in particular, and your prior experience working in interdisciplinary teams.

Please also send a curriculum vitae, unofficial transcripts, and the contact information for at least three references. All application materials should be sent to with “Marine Mammal Health PhD Student Search” as the subject line of your email. All applications received before February 21, 2020 will receive full consideration, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis thereafter until the position is filled. A start date of September 2020 is strongly preferred.

The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. Please contact the Director of Equal Opportunity, 101 N. Stevens Hall, Orono, ME 04469 at 207-581-1226 (voice), TTY 711 (Maine Relay System), or with questions or concerns.

  • The selected candidate is guaranteed an annual stipend, free tuition and fees, and subsidized health insurance coverage for two years supported by the current NSF grant.
  • We anticipate that subsequent years of support will be provided through a combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and student-awarded fellowships.  
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to receive NRT funding. 
  • As part of the National Science Foundation’s and our commitment to broadening participation, we especially encourage women, underrepresented minorities, first-generation students, veterans, and students with disabilities to apply.

Contact Name:

Dr. Kristina Cammen

Contact Email: