The DuVal Lab - Opportunities


Graduate students
Undergraduate students
Postdoctoral researchers
Full-time research assistant
Volunteer field assistants

DuVal Lab commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are committed to increasing the sociocultural, and racial diversity in biology by providing an inclusive environment, in which everyone has equal opportunity to learn and conduct research regardless of background or differences in ability. We support equity in the STEM fields to promote quality science and a healthy society.

Graduate students

I'm currently accepting applications from motivated, independent, and creative prospective graduate students. You can find out more about the FSU Ecology and Evolution program here. Check here for Florida State University guidelines for admissions requirements and application materials.

Positions are currently available for one to two students to develop an independent aspect of the NSF-funded lance-tailed manakin field project. (Before you jump at this, check the field assistant announcement below to learn a little more about the working conditions - every word is true! For further information on past research in this system, check out the PDFs posted under "publications").

I encourage my graduate students to select their own research projects and develop them with considerable independence. I view my role as that of a facilitator in this process, and interact with students in weekly lab meetings, journal groups, occasional scheduled meetings, and generally whenever questions arise. Students in my lab are not limited to my own research questions or choice of taxon, but should share a common interest in evolutionary theory and behavioral ecology.

Advice for prospective graduate students abounds on the web. Check out some of these sites for information on graduate school, developing effective advisor-student relationships, and planning for life after grad school. Some of my favorites are:

"Some modest advice for graduate students" by Steve Stearns and the "acynical" rebuttal by Ray Huey, originally presented as an EcoLunch seminar at UC Berkeley in 1976.

Multiple insightful resources compiled by Matt Ayres of Dartmouth University. In particular, check out the survey asking "what do you wish you knew when you were starting grad school" (note links to papers by Binkley and Witz for more perspective on the Stearns-Huey classics).

Eileen Lacey's practical tips for applying to grad school.

General advice for prospective behavioral ecologists: It is particularly important for graduate students in behavioral ecology to have prior experience in field research, and in thinking critically and independently about scientific questions. There are many ways to get this sort of experience: work as a research assistant or intern (for example, see the Ornithology Exchange Job Board   and the Texas A&M Job Board), take advantage of research opportunities at your undergraduate institution, work as an NSF REU student. All of these experiences will give you a taste of what it's like to work as a biologist, and will help you decide whether this is the right path for you. In particular, the decision to pursue a Ph.D. is a big commitment (usually 5 years or more in this field), and not something that should be undertaken lightly. Think about why you want to do this, and whether graduate school is really the way to go.

If, after all this, you're interested in joining my lab group, contact me! Send me an email to let me know who you are, why you're specifically interested in working in my lab, and what sort of research questions you find compelling. No, you don't have to have a project planned before you start grad school, but people who know generally what they like (and why) have a head start in a long and complicated process.

The Ecology and Evolution program at FSU guarantees funding to all enrolled graduate students as long as they continue appropriate forward progress toward their degree. This funding is usually a combination of departmental teaching assistantships and tuition waivers (see the E&E web site), and research assistantships. Students are also expected to apply for external fellowships and grants to support their research, and I will assist in this process.


NSF Research Education for Undergraduates: An REU fellowship is available to support an independent research experience in animal behavior for one currently enrolled undergraduate student in May -  July 2020. This is a 10-week, paid research position designed to provide experience with planning and carrying out your own project. The chosen REU fellow will join a field research team on Isla Boca Brava, Panama for the first five weeks, then complete analyses and write-up of the project on the FSU campus. Read through this detailed description of the work, and complete your application before January 30, 2020.         

Independent Research: Working in an active research lab is a great way to test out career interests, build your resume for graduate school applications, and earn credit at the same time. I am able to sponsor undergraduate independent research projects (honors research or directed independent study in BSC4900r), which are most appropriate for upper-level undergrads. Students will work with me to develop an appropriate research plan, collect and analyze data, and interpret the results.

Undergraduate projects may be a discrete part of an existing project in the lab (for example drawing on data from genetic samples, videos of displays in the wild, and written behavioral observations to answer new questions) or, more rarely, consist of a completely independent project. Sharing results with others is an integral part of science, so undergraduate researchers will be expected to participate in and present their work in lab meetings.

Note: Undergraduate researchers are eligible for grants of up to $4000 to conduct independent research projects through FSU. Most applications are due around February 2 to the Division of Undergraduate Studies. In particular, check out the MRCE, URCAA, Honors Thesis Grant Awards, and Sophomore Research Initiation Awards. If you'd like to apply to use one of these awards to conduct research in my lab, be sure to contact me well before the deadline so that we can discuss your project plans.

Postdoctoral Researchers

No current funding is available for new postdoctoral researchers. However, I welcome inquiries from researchers with independent funding sources or those interested in applying for external funding to work in my lab. Our current research investigates the behavioral, physiological, and evolutionary mechanisms underlying variation in reproductive cooperation. See the research and publications sections of this website for more information on current work within the lab group. Letters of interest should include a statement of your research interests, outline of projects you are interested in pursuing and a CV sent to Emily DuVal at

If you have distinct potential to promote a contribute to diversity in biology, and plan to pursue an academic career, please consider applying for the FSU Provost Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The program provides 2 years of salary support, and $20,000 of research funding, and I am happy to sponsor applications.          

The Ecology and Evolution group at Florida State University is an interactive and dynamic group with a strong tradition of research at the interface of ecology and evolutionary biology. See the department website for more information on current faculty.

Full-time research assistant

NOW HIRING! Project manager who can go from field to lab, data organization to manuscript prep. Full time with benefits and flexible paid vacation. Full details are here.

Field Assistants

Each year I hire 2-4 volunteer field assistants to conduct field research in Panama. This work involves behavioral observations, mistnetting, radiotelemetry, nest searching, and nest monitoring. This is grueling work! We work 6 days a week, from 7 am - 6:30 pm, with occasional data entry and organization later in the evenings. Field conditions are hot (frequently > 95 degrees F), extremely humid, and buggy, with steep terrain and a very real possibility of snake encounters, wasp and bee stings, heat exhaustion, and being caught in tropical downpours. Communication is limited at best, and field assistants are sometimes out of touch with most of the world for 2-3 weeks at a time.

This work is most appropriate for people who are interested in pursuing a career in behavioral ecology, and who have previous field experience. Please keep in mind that a large number of people apply for these positions, and due to the remote nature of the field site I strongly prefer applicants with experience in mistnetting, reading color bands on small birds, nest searching, and living happily in uncomfortable conditions. If you're interested, watch for the job announcement here or on the OrnJobs listserv for the announcement of field season dates. I begin accepting applications for field assistant positions in late October of each year: apply via email with (1) a coverletter explaining why you want this (really difficult) job, (2) a CV, and (3) names and email addresses of three recommenders who are personally familiar with your field skills and personality.

The 2020  field season is now complete. We will  begin hiring for the next field  season at the end of October.   Field season dates are approximately February 15 - June 20 each year.


This and other opportunities for behavioral fieldwork can be found on the Ornithology Exchange Job Board   and the Texas A&M Job Board