Graduate Student Assistantship

Announcement Title: Evaluating the environmental impact of smart technology to advance sustainable shellfish aquaculture


Aquaculture is globally recognized as a one of the few sustainable means for satisfying the growing demand for animal protein; however, this industry faces many production hurdles and is technologically far behind the agricultural food production sector. Shellfish aquaculture is considered one of the most ecologically sustainable means of aquaculture production and has been growing rapidly in Maryland and is, arguably, good for the environment. Despite moderate technological advances in animal husbandry, most modes of production utilize techniques that have not changed much since the 19th century. Research is needed to develop technology that promotes shellfish aquaculture production while maintaining the environmental benefits provided by shellfish and the habitat they create.


The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory (UMCES-HPL) is part of a highly-interdisciplinary team funded by the United Stated Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) seeking to develop smart technology that can help manage crops and reduce environmental impacts of production. UMCES-HPL is seeking a highly motivated graduate student interested in developing technology that can advance shellfish aquaculture production supported and is offering a fully-funded PhD graduate research fellowship. The successful candidate will join this team to help create and evaluate the environmental impact of the developed technology. Additionally, they will design and execute their own research project directly related to the team’s larger research objectives. The student will be advised by Assistant Professor Dr. Matt Gray and based out of the Horn Point Laboratory (Cambridge, MD). The candidate will have the opportunity to develop numerous skills on subjects that include environmental monitoring, aquaculture, and smart technology development. In addition to research, the candidate will take coursework and earn a PhD through the highly interdisciplinary Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences graduate program at UMCES.


Minimum qualifications: BS degree in physical or life sciences (oceanography, chemistry, biology, environmental science, etc.) or engineering with demonstrated competency in mathematics or statistics. Minimum academic qualifications include GRE scores in the upper 50th percentile in each category and a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 system). Desired qualifications include a master’s degree with a proven track record for completing and publishing high-impact science. Other desirable skills that are not immediately necessary but would be valuable upon entry include computational skills, proficiency with statistical software packages (e.g. R, MATLAB, Python), and experience with remote sensing. To apply, please send an email to: Dr. Matt Gray ( with subject header USDA PhD. Interviews will begin this summer/fall (2020); the successful candidate will be expected to apply and be accepted to the MEES program at University of Maryland College Park by January 10, 2021 in order to enroll and start at HPL in the Fall of 2021.

Horn Point Laboratory