Research Opportunities

Community dynamics of sustainable fisheries in the Brazilian Amazon

I am recruiting a Ph.D. student to begin in Summer or Fall 2021 to join a transdisciplinary team* for a funded project on community-based management of a fishery in the Amazonas state of Brazil. This position will work closely with other social and ecological scientists and stakeholders to understand factors related to the fisheries sustainability.

The researcher in this position will be responsible for research on the community dynamics related to fisheries. Research topics could include:

  • cultural importance of the fishery to individual fishers and the communities,
  • factors related cooperation with harvest quotas,
  • community leadership, and
  • institutional dynamics that influence sustainability.

Methods will involve a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Field work requires travel to the Amazon and the ability to conduct face-to-face interviews with fishers and community members.


An M.S. degree* in environmental studies, geography, planning, political science, sociology, public policy and administration, natural resources, ecology, fisheries or other related discipline is required. Substantive experience with social science research or policy is strongly preferred. Fluency in Portuguese is necessary to conduct research. Candidates with a demonstrated ability to become fluent will be considered. Other essential skills include strong  writing and verbal communication, a demonstrated competence in basic statistical analysis, and ability to work independently and in a team.
*Students with B.S. degrees and extensive research experience will be considered.

For Portuguese speakers for whom English is not your first language, I encourage you to apply if you meet the above criteria and feel confident in your ability to develop your fluency in the English language.

Application Process

The research assistantship is available to both US citizens and international candidates through the Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech. The student will enroll in the Ph.D. degree program in Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation. Additional opportunities for affiliation and funding are available through the Global Change Center’s Interfaces of Global Change program.

Interested students are encouraged to email the following as a single pdf document: 1) a brief cover letter describing their professional background, relevant research experience and interests, career goals, and reasons for seeking a Ph.D. degree, 2) a current curriculum vitae/resume, 3) names and contact information for three references, and 4) an unofficial copy of transcripts and GRE scores (if you have been able to take them) directly to me at Do not submit materials to the Virginia Tech Graduate School at this time.

Applications will be reviewed as soon as they are received, but materials should be sent before 28 February 2021.

If you have questions before applying, please email Michael Sorice at Those more comfortable with Portuguese, please include in your correspondence.

* Those interested in other aspects of the project can contact: L. Castello (habitat, population dynamics), H. Kindsvater (population dynamics), or E. Brondizio (governance & institutions).