Graduate Student Positions

MS (or PhD) Student Assistantship in Systematics

A MS or PhD assistantship is available in the Dowling Lab at the University of Arkansas to work on a NSF funded project focused on one of the most diverse groups of mites, Parasitengona (> 11,000 species of velvet mites, water mites, and chiggers). This integrative project will use full genomes and anchored hybrid enrichment protocols in combination with a massive morphological survey using SEM and cSLM to elucidate the evolutionary history of these mites. Parasitengona are the butterflies of the mite world. Species include the bright red mites searching for pollen on concrete, the large, furry velvet mites found in forests or swarming after desert rains, and the colorful water mites inhabiting nearly every freshwater habitat on the planet. Their size and color make them obvious even to casual observers, as is evidenced by their dominance in amateur photography online, and because of this, we are developing a large citizen science component, working with the public and teachers to obtain mites, information on distributions, and develop K-12 curriculum. Click here for a summary of the project. This position is available for the fall semester 2016, with potential to start as early as June. Students interested in applying to the lab should contact Ashley Dowling for more information. Inquiries from individuals of diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged.

Undergraduate Student Positions

Honors Undergraduate Theses

Honors students seeking an advisor and project for their honors undergraduate theses should contact me at If you have an interest in arthropod diversity, we can likely develop a very interesting project for your thesis. Current and past honors these have included a biodiversity study of ants in the Ozarks, water mite population genetics and water mite taxonomy. The lab currently maintains a massive collection of insects and other arthropods from around the Ozarks that are ready to be included into research projects. Opportunities are available to participate in exisitng projects in the lab concerning ticks and tick-borne diseases, pollinator diversity and ecology, or velvet mite and water mite systeamtics. Honors students in the Dowling Lab are expected to apply for competitive undergraduate awards and funding like SURF awards and college undergraduate research funds.