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The Baskett Lab

A note to prospective students

Considering applying to graduate school and potentially interested in our lab group?  The Baskett Lab might be a fit for you if:
  1. You are interested in dynamical modeling as your primary methodology (i.e., using mathematical modeling and computer simulations).  This might entail a primarily theoretical thesis with one empirical (field or lab) project for a thesis chapter, which is a great way to place theory in context and integrate data and models; pursuing such a project will require the student to seek out a secondary mentor who has the empirical expertise to provide the relevant guidance.  For students who are pursuing primarily empirical theses on topics related to the research in our group, including those who are potentially interested in incorporating a theoretical project, I better serve as a secondary rather than primary mentor.  UC Davis is a highly collaborative institution, with a plethora of ecologists and evolutionary biologists across many departments, where shared mentorship is common.

  2. You are interested in questions at the interface of basic and applied science.  While projects in our lab include a broad array of topics in the areas of theoretical population, community, and evolutionary ecology, a primary focus is the application of this ecological theory to conservation management, where we look to advance both, particularly (but not exclusively) in marine systems.  For more details on current members and research topics, please visit the research page of this site.

  3. You are interested in pursuing an independent thesis.  My goal is to mentor lab members towards research independence as future colleagues (whether in academia, government agencies, NGOs, or other sectors).  Given that a PhD is an approximately five-year commitment focused on research, which is quite different from undergraduate learning, having research experience before pursuing a PhD is crucial to knowing whether or not graduate school is a good fit for you.  Undergraduate research can be a way to gain this experience, or taking time off between undergraduate and graduate school to explore different areas of research is very common in the field of ecology.  If you're looking for such experience, the Ecological Society of America's Physiological Ecology website lists positions (in all subfields in ecology) at the undergraduate, internship, and technician levels, and the Ecolog listserv includes position postings among other ecological topics.

  4. You are a team player.  Our lab members use similar quantitative tools in theoretical population biology to address a variety of ecological and conservation questions in an array of different systems.  We look to create a supportive, collaborative atmosphere where lab members learn from and help each other. 
If you are considering applying to the lab, please email me (mlbaskett(at)ucdavis.edu) with a CV and brief description of your research interests.  For prospective graduate students, note that I accept students through the Graduate Group in Ecology and the Population Biology Graduate Group.  (Instead of graduate students applying to a particular department, UC Davis has cross-departmental graduate groups to promote student engagement with faculty in multiple relevant departments.) Note also that I am part of the graduate training program in Sustainable Oceans: From Policy to Science to Decisions that can accept students from any relevant graduate group.

Graduate student advice resources

For a good article on advice on applying to graduate school, see:
Note that I maintain a resources page for academic career development, focused on job & grant resources, writing & presenting advice, and theoretical biology resources.  Other comprehensive resources pages that include advice on being a graduate student are available at:

Relevant departments and programs at UC Davis
Environmental Science and Policy
Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
Evolution and Ecology
Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute
Bodega Marine Laboratory
Marine Ecology, Economics, and Policy
Center for Population Biology
John Muir Institute of the Environment
Institute for Contemporary Evolution

Last updated September 2017