Dear Prospective Graduate Students:

If you are interested in applying to be a graduate student in my lab please do the following:

  1. Review my areas of research and current publications; and,
  2. If your interests overlap with mine and you have some research experience then,
  3. Send me an e-mail and include the following:
  • Your goals and how working with me will help you achieve them;
  • Any experiences that have prepared you for graduate school;
  • Relevant coursework, GRE scores, awards etc.;
  • Anything else you think is important.

I have a policy of accepting only students who, first, I can support financially with either teaching or research assistant ships for at least 2-3 years and second, I believe are capable of excellent graduate-level research. Teaching assistantships provide support but are very competitive, although I may have grant support to offer a research assistantship to a successful candidate. Note that my current position only supports MS students. 

Strong technical writing skills are required and I do not accept students that can't write scientific papers. Every year I receive many applications from well-qualified applicants even though I only have a few open slots. Thus, the competition is very intense and many excellent students are not accepted for admission. I strongly encourage you to apply to multiple graduate institutions and don't give up if this is what you really want. Please read Milton Love's sage advice, starting at #4. If you are not close to being a senior start here first.

My major research interest is marine ecology and conservation biology, emphasizing invertebrates and fishes inhabiting coral reefs and temperate intertidal and deep rocky reefs. My major projects at present are focused on:

  1. An evaluation of the effectiveness of MPAs in Hawaii, California and Oregon and the importance of habitat to reef fish and invertebrates;
  2. Ecology and sustainability of the marine ornamental trade, especially the live aquarium trade; 
  3. Importance of structure-forming invertebrates (particularly  corals and sponges) and their potential to provide habitat for commercially important groundfish (mainly rockfish) on deep rocky reefs in California, Oregon and Washington;
  4. Effects of ocean acidification and anoxia on intertidal and subtidal community structure in northern California coastal areas. 

All projects involve both lab and field components. My coral reef projects require strong SCUBA diving experience and training through the QUEST workshop. Our continental shelf work requires experience with research vessels and submersibles at sea (including being able to function in rough weather) and a strong background in fish and invertebrate biology and identification. Please see my publications for more information about these projects.

If you are interested in applying just follow the instructions on the HSU Biological Sciences Graduate program webpage. If you fare well with the admissions committee and a slot appears in my lab, then I'll invite you to campus for an interview. Of course, you're welcome to visit any time regardless. Please note that I only accept students whom I have met, which I believe is important both for you and for me.

Very importantly: (1) I apologize if I have not responded to your personal e-mails regarding working in my lab. I simply cannot track all e-mails inquires and respond individually. Don’t assume that I have not received you inquiry just because I have not responded! (2) Funding is dynamic so it is very difficult to predict the kinds and levels of funding that will be available to support individual students. Therefore, I recommend that if you are interested in my work, and feel qualified for graduate school, apply to my lab  and that will allow me to consider your application. If you don’t apply, I can’t consider you for acceptance.

If you want to know how previous graduate students have fared after working in my lab please check out my people page and contact them for additional information. Yes, they have all done exceedingly well although I cannot take credit for their success. It is hard work, dedication and creativity that has brought them their success.

Thanks again for your interest, and I hope to see your application! Please give me a call if you have any questions.

Aloha - Brian