Wildlife Genetics


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Great Gray Owl

Mtn Lion

Anna's Hummingbird



Red-shouldered Hawk

White-tailed deer

Galápagos hawk

Photo Credits



Student Opportunities forAnne_with_Oriole
Graduate, Veterinary, and Undergraduate Student
Study and Research

Ernest Lab - Ecological Genetics & Wildlife Population Health

Quality education is a priority with us.


Our lab is home to graduate students with a high level of scientific curiosity, strong academic background, and desire to conduct creative ecological genetics and/or wildlife disease ecology research.  Keys to success includes demonstration of strong academic background (excellent GPAs, GREs, etc), some type of background in laboratory genetics, disease biology, and/or field experience with wild bird/mammal banding/capture, along with ability to work well with others, and interests in research directions of our lab group:

Due to funding challenges with California state and Federal budgets, only applicants with excellent funding opportunities for their research, stipend, and tuition can be considered. That means students who either have secured fellowships prior to starting their graduate degree or have excellent ability to do so during their graduate program and are willing to TA.. To secure such fellowships, students need excellent academic credentials (high GPA and GRE scores: ~85%-ile or higher), as well as writing, quantitative, and verbal skills. Students should be ready and willing to TA for at least part of their graduate student tenure and write grant proposals (Dr. Ernest will mentor on grant writing and research).  TA means work as teaching assistant for UC Davis undergraduate courses. US citizenship and California residency is required unless student has means to pay the extra non-resident tuition (currently >$16,000 per year on top of regular university fees/tuition).

Read graduate student opportunities page for more details


New PhD's with very strong genomic and DNA laboratory skills (PCR, SNPs, Next Gen Sequencing, whole genome analysis, mitochondrial DNA sequencing, etc) are encouraged to contact Dr. Ernest, if they have secured at least part of their salary funding through fellowships or grants. Post-doctoral candidates might work on multiple of our current genetic/genomic projects (particularly those involving hummingbirds, mountain lions, sea otters, bighorn sheep, and domestic ferrets).  Post-doctoral candidates must have excellent academic credentials (high GPAs and high GREs), a record of journal publication, evidence of good grant-writing success and skills, and letters of recommendation. .


Veterinarians with interests and the desire to work toward a graduate degree are very welcome to inquire. Check out the MPVM program (Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine) and also our graduate student opportunities page for other graduate programs..

Veterinary students with interests in the summer STAR internship are very welcome to inquire.


For academic year 2013-2014, there may be open positions for undergraduates.

We enjoy working with undergraduate students in the wildlife DNA lab and typically maintain a position to provide valuable laboratory experiences. We post openings to the UC Davis internship center web site (search under Dr. Holly Ernest and wildlife genetics).

Lisa G