Join Us!

The Moeller Lab is always excited to meet prospective technicians, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars interested in acquired metabolism.

In the Moeller Lab, we recognize that diversity drives success. Our science is grounded in a diversity of approaches–from mathematical models to serological pipettes to transect tapes–and our team is, too. We are committed to maintaining a culture of inclusiveness and openness, where all scholars are welcomed and valued. Prospective lab members should share our values.

As the PI, I (Holly) am committed to “whole person mentorship” that acknowledges that we are more than science automatons. Science comes first for me, personally, but I recognize that it is done best by scholars who feel safe, secure, and grounded in a belief that they belong in our community. We welcome those who can contribute to such an environment.

For Interested Graduate Students:

NB: This coming year (2022-23 application cycle), we are particularly interested in recruiting a mathematical biologist interested in eco-evolutionary modeling of mutualisms. I am unlikely to admit graduate students outside the core research interests of our lab (which are currently: coral epigenetics modeling, marine microbial mixotroph evolution, and tree-ectomycorrhizal mutualisms). 

We know that application fees at UCSB are high. Please don’t let that stop you from expressing interest in our lab! In years when we expect to admit graduate students, we will reimburse the application fee for applicants with research interests that match our group regardless of need. This is also true if you are interested in being co-advised. We do not expect you to commit to our lab, or feel that you need to join us if admitted. In order to be considered for this reimbursement, please write to Dr. Moeller before applying.

1. Check out what we do! As you’ll see from our recent publications, our lab’s work involves combining mathematical models and lab experiments to test hypotheses generated by observations in the field. We’re recruiting graduate students who are broadly interested in community ecology and interested in approaches ranging from purely mathematical models, to primarily empirical studies. We study a wide (and expanding!) range of systems, from terrestrial plant-microbe mutualisms, to kleptoplastidic marine plankton. Students interested in this list of projects are particularly encouraged to apply.

As a graduate student, you will be expected to get involved in the lab’s mathematical modeling. Not every thesis chapter has to include a model, but quantitative approaches are de rigueur. Students with backgrounds in applied mathematics, physics, etc., are especially encouraged to apply.

2. Still interested? Please write to Dr. Moeller at Please include:

  • A brief description of your research interests and, in particular, how they overlap with the lab’s focus;
  • A summary of your mathematical background and relevant research experience;
  • A CV which includes professional references, your GPA, and GRE scores (if available); and
  • Whether or not you are eligible to apply for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (deadline mid-October). I ask all prospective graduate students who are eligible to apply; I’m happy to discuss research ideas, comment on application drafts, etc.

3. Check out the entry requirements and deadlines for the two UCSB graduate programs through which we accept applicants: the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology (deadline ~Dec. 1), and the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science (deadline ~Dec. 15).

In addition to these entry requirements, recommended coursework that will prepare you well for our research group includes:

  • Chemistry, through organic chemistry (1 year of lecture and lab)
  • Mathematics, through differential equations (Calc IV)
  • Biology, including upper division courses especially in ecology, evolution, and/or physiology

As highlighted by the diversity of interests and expertise on our team, I prefer to collaborate with scholars whose broad training supports creative approaches and projects at the intersection of multiple fields.

For Postdoctoral Scholars:

The postdoctoral years are some of the most exciting and rewarding in your career: You’re free of the deadlines and paperwork that come with a Ph.D. program, have yet to shoulder the logistical burdens of a faculty position (or other permanent job), and can dedicate your whole working life to the scientific questions that are most fascinating to you. My role as a mentor is to facilitate your transition from graduate student to fully independent scholar, providing scientific and professional guidance and resources that will assist you along a path to success in whatever career you choose. I expect our professional relationship to be a collaborative one: We’re both bringing skills and research interests honed by years of experience as scientists to bear on problems of mutual interests.

If you’re interested in studying acquired metabolism, in all its many forms, as a postdoctoral researcher, please contact me at Tell me about yourself and your interests, and please attach your CV (with references) as well as one or two relevant scientific publications (or manuscripts).

For Prospective Technicians:

We are sometimes seeking technicians with experience in marine algal cultivation and/or molecular techniques (e.g., DNA extraction and amplification, qPCR, etc.). Please write to to introduce yourself. Include a summary of your relevant research experience, and please attach a CV with references.