Two New Postdoctoral Positions ! – (1) Macroecology of land plant biodiversity: Niche evolution and ecological limits; (2) Tropical Ecology: Experimental Trait-based ecology of tropical forest ecosystems

The Enquist lab has positions for two new postdoctoral positions to start fall 2016

(1) Postdoctoral Position –  Macroecology of land plant biodiversity: Niche evolution and ecological limits.

The College of Science at the University of Arizona is seeking to fill a position in Plant Macroecology and trait-based niche evolution.  This position, funded by the National Science Foundation, will work closely with an interdisciplinary group of researchers associated with the University of Arizona (Enquist Lab), Kenyon College (Andrew Kerkhoff), and Wesleyan University (Dana Royer) together with international collaborators from the Botanical Information and Ecology Network (BIEN). We are looking for a candidate to investigate the fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes that generate continental-scale variation in plant biodiversity.

The post-doc’s main responsibility will be to lead integration of plant diversity, macroecology, plant trait, and climate measures associated with the biogeography of plant diversity.  The successful candidate will lead a novel research program that leverages the BIEN database, the largest botanical dataset in existence, with information on the distribution, ecology, and evolutionary history of more than 100,000 plant species in North and South America. The candidate will take advantage of computational advances in biodiversity informatics, phylogenetic analysis, and multivariate niche modeling to investigate how the evolutionary contingencies of adaptation, diversification, and dispersal
interact with possible ecological limits on the ‘niche space’ of different environments.

The main goals of this position are to test whether the colonization of novel environments is limited by niche evolution, and whether less physiologically favorable environments actually impose hard ecological limits on the number of plant species they can support. The unprecedented scale of this project will require both the modification of existing analytical methods and the development of new statistical tools, and results from this work will help foster better projections of how plant diversity and productivity will respond to future climate change. In collaboration with scientists and undergraduates from Kenyon College and Wesleyan University, the project also presents opportunities to develop curricular materials and mentor undergraduate research, in order to helptrain the next generation of researchers in the unique skills necessary to work with large-scale data to address global environmental problems.

Candidates are expected to be collaborative yet independent, highly motivated problem solvers who communicate well and enjoy working both in the field and in a laboratory/computational environment. The ideal candidate would have a background in some combination of biogeography, plant ecology, physiological ecology, trait-based ecology, ecological niche modelling, community phylogenetics, or macroecology. Knowledge and interest in theory/mathematical modeling or data science/informatics is beneficial, and well-developed experience with R, SQL, Python, or similar programming languages is preferred. Applicants with only a subset of these skills are still encouraged to apply, and the post-doc will have multiple opportunities for close mentorship and training in research, communication, education, and professional development.

Applications and any questions should be sent to benquist@email.arizona.edu. 
The application should include: a Curriculum Vitae that details education, past research, and publications. Applicants should also submit a cover letter that describes their interest in the project and the names of three references. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

As an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, the University of Arizona recognizes the power of a diverse community and encourages applications from individuals with varied experiences, perspectives and backgrounds. The University of Arizona is a major research university allowing access to myriad researchers and resources that could be useful to this project. University of Arizona is one of the top national research universities. Tucson is a beautiful city surrounded by the Sonoran Desert and Sky Island forested mountains. The city is vibrant, and diverse with a wide array of arts and culture, including world-class museums, theater, music, and cuisine and culture. The University is located in a growing walkable urban core that offers one of the Wests best up and coming music and social scenes.  There are too many year-round outdoor activities to count, and many of them close at hand. Tucson is often ranked as amongst the best bikable cities in the United States.

(2) Postdoctoral Position –  Tropical Ecology: Experimental Trait-based ecology of tropical forest ecosystems

The College of Science at the University of Arizona is seeking to fill a position in Tropical forest ecology and trait-based global ecology.  This position will work closely with an interdisciplinary group of researchers associated with the Biosphere2 and the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Department of Hydrology also located at the University of Arizona.

The post-doc’s main responsibility will be to lead integration of ecophysiological, plant trait, and ecosystem measures of tropical forest biome function in the Biosphere2 (http://biosphere2.org) to investigate how climate change will influence tropical forest ecosystems.  This includes integration of experimental work within Biosphere 2 with ongoing tropical field campaigns led by UofA researchers in Latin America (Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, and Mexico).  A key aspect of this position will be to help develop novel techniques to mechanistically link plant traits and tradeoffs among traits – such as those associated with plant hydraulics, nutrient acquisition, photosynthetic metabolism, and allocation (e.g. to non-structural carbohydrate stores or to production of volatile organic compounds) – to tree performance, mortality, and extinction across a diverse suite of tropical trees under climate change. Candidates may lead innovative measurement programs to link traits to performance (e.g. with new optical methods for quantifying suites of traits via spectra of absorption or reflectance, via isotopic tracers of carbon, water or nutrient cycling, or via quantification of secondary metabolite emissions).  Candidates may also help or lead in the development of predictive models of tropical forest carbon/water use under climate change. He/She will work closely with Drs. Scott Saleska (http://www.saleskalab.org), Brian Enquist (https://brianjenquist.wordpress.com) and Peter Troch (http://www.hwr.arizona.edu/users/patroch) at the University of Arizona. As such, work may also involve theory development for trait-based models, creation and analysis of large datasets for plant traits, as well as numerical simulations for how plant traits determine mortality, forest dynamics, forest water use and carbon cycling. Results from this project will: (1) lead to a deeper understanding of how climate change and individual plant traits influence forests and forest ecosystems and (2) allow for projections of future productivity, diversity, and the functioning of tropical forests.

Candidates are expected to be collaborative yet independent, highly motivated problem solvers who communicate well and enjoy working both in the field and in a laboratory environment. The ideal candidate would have a background in tropical forest ecology, physiological ecology, trait-based ecology, and community/macroecology. Knowledge and interest in theory/mathematical modeling and experience with R or similar programming languages would be beneficial. Previous experience working in the tropics and fluency in oral and written Spanish and/or Portuguese is also desirable. Applicants with only a subset of these skills are encouraged to apply.

Applications and any questions should be sent to benquist@email.arizona.edu, patroch@email.arizona.edu, saleska@email.arizona.edu
The application should include: a Curriculum Vitae that details education, past research, and publications. Applicants should also submit a cover letter that describes their interest in the project and the names of three references. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

 

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