A graduate research assistantship is available to pursue a PhD in Forest Resources at the University of Maine. M.S. students will also be considered. The research topic is to study the Long–term Durability Evaluation of Structural Wood Plastic Composite Timber in Aquaculture Fish Cage Applications. UMaine researchers have developed a patented wood plastic composite (WPC) technology using an engineering thermoplastic (styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) copolymer) that is stronger, stiffer and less prone to creep than current WPC materials. There is a need for data on long term durability of the SMA-WPC composites since the fish cages are typically built with a projected twenty year service life. No durability data are currently available for the SMA-WPC composite technology. Over the life of the project , there will be an opportunity to participate in field work data collection at an aquaculture facility in Mexico (Baja California). The research assistantship pays $27,500 per year and half the cost of health insurance is also provided. Preferred starting date is August 29, 2016. Please contact Dr. Doug Gardner at douglasg@maine.edu. Graduate applications are available at https://umaine.edu/graduate/apply/