Forest Ecology Student Field Research Assistants

Hiring Organization: Department of Forestry
Employment type: Part-Time
Application Due Date: April 30, 2023

Position description

This is a great opportunity to gain experience in forest ecology research! We are searching for undergraduate students with a strong work ethic and passion for forest ecology. The position includes field and laboratory work with flexible part‐time to periodic full‐time hours (fieldwork in northern Michigan). You can find more information about the MSU Forest Ecology lab ( and Rhizosphere Ecology Lab (

Characteristic Duties/Responsibilities

  • Assist with greenhouse experiments and laboratory analyses. This will include maintaining and monitoring plant‐soil feedback experiments at MSU’s Tree Research Center and wet lab work determining abiotic and biotic soil properties from field‐collected
  • Forest monitoring fieldwork: Assistants will spend time in forests of northern‐lower Michigan; monitoring seedling establishment, survival, and growth; and monitoring factors influencing oak regeneration under red pine and oak‐dominated overstories.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Some experience in forestry, ecology, biology, or a related field
  • Comfort with woody plant identification, forest measurements, and field research conditions
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Excel for data entry, cleaning, and manipulation
  • Must be an MSU student, enrolled in the Summer or BOTH Spring and Fall 2023 semesters
  • Valid driver’s license and acceptable driving record preferred (to drive University‐owned vehicles)

Compensation and Dates

Starting wage is $14.00/hour minimum, commensurate with experience, up to 40 hours per week, limited to 29 hours per week while spring/fall classes are in session.  Positions can start in Spring semester and continue through the summer, or only summer (mid‐May through mid‐August).

Working Conditions

The position will involve lab, greenhouse, and field‐based work. Lab conditions could involve exposure to dust, allergens, soil, and skin/eye irritants. Greenhouse will not involve direct pesticide use but will require related worker protection standard training given on‐site pesticide use. Field conditions may include carrying a less-than-30‐pound pack and exposure to inclement (but not dangerous) weather, heat/humidity, uneven terrain, insects, and allergens.


Lab and greenhouse work will occur at MSU’s Natural Resources building and the nearby Tree Research Center. Housing is not provided for East Lansing area work. Summer work requires extended‐stay trips in the Manistee National Forest and other locations throughout northern Michigan. Housing is provided for fieldwork but may include tent camping.

To Apply

Apply via Handshake by searching for Job #7658396 or email to Dr. Aki Koyama at Submit 1) a letter of interest detailing qualifications for the position and the dates/times of availability, 2) resume/CV with list of relevant coursework or experiences, and 3) contact information (email and phone number) for two professional references.


Applications will be considered until April 30, 2023, or until the positions have been filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Feel free to call Aki Koyama at 517‐348‐5858 for more details.


The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University (MSU) is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. MSU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion.