1) Post-doc - We have no funded opportunities listed for post-docs available at this time. However, we are always open to collaboratively working on proposals for fellowships (e.g. NSF post-doctoral fellowships).
2) Graduate Students - We have no funded opportunities listed for graduate students available at this time. However, we are always open to collaboratively working on proposals for fellowships (e.g. NSF GRFP) or pursuing internal funding here at the University of Florida. Please contact the PI Brett Scheffers if you are interested in Masters or PhD research, and see below for details on what to include in your email.
3) Undergraduate Students - We are always looking for hard working undergraduate students who are interested in either assisting graduate students with their research or those interested in conducting independent research. If you are interested in helping graduate students collect data or if you are interested in doing independent research please contact a graduate student of the PI of the Scheffers lab. Please note that we only take in undergraduate students for independent study who are willing to put in the long hours of research to derive a publishable product. If you are willing to do this then you will have the support and resources of the lab to ensure your success.
Who are we?
We are a highly collaborative research group with strongly international partners with projects spanning 8 countries. We are always open to collaboration and so please contact Scheffers lab members if you are interested in collaborating on research or joining the lab.
Graduate Research Development
I usually provide students with independence to discover research themes of their choice. I place
an emphasis on conceptual development and important and interesting questions and therefore so long as the taxa and study-scape can address the questions at-hand I generally give my support to student’s proposed projects.
The goal of graduate research is to become a master of a research theme. I typically tell my
students that by the end of the PhD they should have mastered a literature of 70-100 papers and
should have published 4-5 high impact papers on their specific research theme. A 4-5 year PhD
should be comprised, at a minimum, of 4-5 publishable chapters and a 2 year MSc should be
comprised of 2 publishable chapters.
My mentorship philosophy is to strike a balance between student self-discovery and academic
productivity. I typically give PhD students one year of discovery before requiring them to choose
a research topic.
Research in the Scheffers Lab
The Scheffers lab has broad interests in ecology and conservation biology spanning topics and
sub-disciplines from ecophysiology, theoretical ecology, biogeography, macro-ecology,
community ecology and conservation related themes such as climate change, habitat loss,
urbanization, invasive species, and the wildlife trade.
I have broad taxonomic interests and in the past 5 years my students and I have worked with
birds, epiphytic plants, butterflies, understory shrubs, ants, amphibians, reptiles, mosquitoes, and
aquatic diving beetles, among others. Our research includes terrestrial and freshwater systems in
both temperate and tropical regions.
Who should join the Scheffers lab?
We pride ourselves on being a hard-working group of people with a passion for understanding the natural world. So if you have grit, extensive field, lab, or data experience, a desire to learn about the natural history of plants and animals, work extremely hard, and if you are an easy going and light hearted person who enjoys a good joke and the company of fellow ecologist and conservation biologists, then the Scheffers lab is the right place for you.
Expectations in the Lab
My goal and challenge as a mentor is to adjust my mentoring approach to complement and
support each student’s work style and needs. You can expect that I take my goal and mentorship
duty very seriously and I am committed to each student in my lab to ensure they are as
productive as possible during their graduate tenure.
I expect each student to enter the lab with a determination for excellence and a philosophy that
they are the holder and bearer of their own productivity. I believe individual responsibility is
essential to a successful graduate degree and career. In other words, success falls on no other
person’s shoulders than the students. That said, my goal is to help each student navigate the
academic waters from inception of idea, to implementation, analyses, and writing. I will work
with each student to identify his or her strengths and weaknesses. I will support students to help
address weaknesses either through individual development via workshops and courses or by
putting students in touch with my collaborators who might fill this void. I learned this approach
from my PhD supervisor, Navjot Sodhi, and it has been a successful approach with my past and
I do not expect or want perfectionism in graduate research but I do expect 100% effort and
commitment from each student. Perfectionism, in graduate research, is a long dark hallway with
no clearly defined end – an academic purgatory – that should be avoided. I will work closely
with students to identify when research is sufficiently developed for publication. Striking this
balance is critical to getting research in the highest possible impact journals while also
Opportunities and how to apply
At the University of Florida, I can accept students through the Department of Wildlife Ecology
and Conservation or the School for Natural Resources and Environment.
Students interested in joining the lab are encouraged to apply for external fellowships (e.g.,
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship). If you intend to apply for one of these fellowships, please indicate this in your cover letter to me. All prospective students should contact me by email with the following materials:
a curriculum vitae
a description of research experience and possible graduate research topics
a short explanation highlighting why the Scheffers lab would be a good fit for this research
a short description of career goals