Integrative evolutionary biology and conservation genetics


Undergraduate Students


There are many opportunities for undergraduate students both for summer research, and in-semester research. If you are interested in working in the Edwards Lab, please note the specific deadlines detailed below.


Undergraduate research in the lab is generally aimed at familiarizing students with the kind of data and projects that we work with in the Edwards Lab.  During semester projects may include genetic data gathering for pilot studies, survey’s of fauna in the Vernal Pools Reserve, or examining museum specimens for morphological analysis, among other things. Summer research generally involves field work on the various projects we undertake. As students develop their skills, we will work together to develop a research projects that link into student interests.


Undergraduates working in the Edwards Lab can earn research credit (e.g., Bio or ESS 95, Bio or ESS 195) for time spent in the lab during the academic year.  Typically, this involves committing to 2 units of research credit or 6 hours per week, but this is flexible and project dependent.


If you are interested in undergraduate research in the Edwards Lab, please email Prof. Edwards with the following information in the form of a cover letter:

  1. Your name, major, year
  2. A 1 paragraph description of your own educational and career goals
  3. A 2-3 paragraph description of which aspects of the Edwards lab research most interests you & how this ties in with your own academic interests


To consider you for a position in the lab during the academic year we need this letter by the end of Week 1 of each semester. If you are interested in participating in summer research, we need your application 6 weeks before the close of the spring semester. No exceptions. We will review applications and determine which students will be accepted into the lab. Preference is given to Ecology/Evolutionary Biology and ESS students.


Expectations of undergraduates working in the Edwards Lab:

  • You will work on lab projects for the agreed-on number of hours
  • You will meet with Prof. Edwards at the beginning of the semester to develop your research goals, these may be periodically revised throughout the semester
  • You will write a summary/report of the work you have done in the lab and will present it to the lab group at the end of semester


Graduate Students


*** I will not be accepting any new graduate students for the 17/18 academic year ***


I recruit graduate students through two programs here at UC Merced, the Environmental Systems Graduate Program and the Quantitative Systems Biology Graduate Program. Each has slightly different requirements, although both are developing concentrations in ecology and evolutionary biology. Please discuss with me which might be best suited to your research interests before applying.


I generally look to recruit one student per year from either of the programs listed above, but may take more under exceptional circumstances. I am interested in working with students whose research interests intersect with my own, including working on systems I have developed and am currently working in. I strongly encourage all of my own students to explore their own independent ideas within my systems of study, and will take students who want to work on independent systems if this is more appropriate for the questions they are interested in. I actively encourage my students to explore the best system in which to answer the questions they are interested in. Please have a look through the lab website and read a few of our papers before contacting me so you have an idea of what we do.


Research in the lab is heavily interdisciplinary, so we have interests in diverse areas including genomics, phylogenetics, population genetics, ecology, behavior, morphology and conservation.We primarily focus on herpetofauna, and I have worked with frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes and turtles. I welcome the opportunity to work with those who have similarly interdisciplinary interests, but may also be interested in purely genetic/genomic projects. We have a state of the art molecular lab, and access to a range of different core facilities here at UC Merced, including a stable isotope lab, environmental analytical facility, microscopy facility and spatial analysis labs.


UC Merced offers competitive TAships (in both grad programs) and cheap living costs compared to other UC campuses. We are very close to the Sierra’s which offers ample opportunities for those who like to explore the great outdoors, including proximity to Yosemite National Park!


If you are interested in applying to graduate school at UC Merced and working in the Edwards Lab, please contact me ahead of time so we can talk about your goals and interests.



Postdoctoral Fellowships


I am always interested in talking with those who have an interest in joining the Edwards Lab for postdoctoral work. I occasionally have funding for postdocs, but am also interested in chatting with those that would like to apply for fellowship funding or other grant funding.


Some opportunities for fellowship funding within the UC system for postdoctoral scholars:


  • The Presidents Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers postdoctoral research fellowships, professional development and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity across the University of California system
  • The Chancellors Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers postdoctoral research fellowships, faculty mentoring, and eligibility for the UC-system hiring incentive to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California, Merced


Other opportunities may exist for fellowships from other agencies. Some that may be applicable to our research: