Postdoctoral Research Associate
Postdoctoral Research Associate position in Molecular Ecology/Environmental DNA (eDNA) Analysis to work with Professor Robert M. Pringle in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University. Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate position to study species interactions using molecular methods in concert with field data. Research in the Pringle Lab (https://pringle.princeton.edu) addresses fundamental problems in ecology and conservation using multiple complementary approaches. A particular area of interest is the use of DNA metabarcoding to study trophic interactions, often in conjunction with field experiments, animal-movement data, and mathematical models. We are also interested in questions that require population-genetic, epigenetic, phylogenetic, transcriptomic, and other approaches. We are looking for a curious, creative, collaborative, and ambitious scientist with broad interests, a broad skill set, and lateral-thinking ability to join our highly interactive team here at Princeton! A primary goal of our work is to understand community disassembly and (re)assembly, with an emphasis on megafauna in African ecosystems. How do communities and ecosystems respond to the loss of large herbivores and carnivores, and what are the ecological dynamics associated with restoring these species? We work intensively in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, which offers an unparalleled opportunity to study 're-wilding' as it occurs. We also work in other parts of Africa, notably the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya. The following recent publications exemplify the type questions that we are pursuing, and the range of methods that we seek to weave together: (1) TR Kartzinel et al. 2015. DNA metabarcoding illuminates dietary niche partitioning by large herbivores. PNAS 112:8019-8024. (2) AT Ford et al. 2014. Large carnivores make savanna tree communities less thorny. Science 346:346-349. (3) Tarnita CE, et al. 2017. A theoretical foundation for multi-scale regular vegetation patterns. Nature 541:398-401. (4) Pringle, RM. 2017. Upgrading protected areas to conserve wild biodiversity. Nature 546:91-99. (5) Daskin, JH & RM Pringle. 2018. Warfare and wildlife declines in Africa's protected areas. Nature 553:328-332. (6) Reese, AT, et al. Microbial nitrogen limitation in the mammalian large intestine. Nature Microbiology in press. The successful candidate will develop a project that extends or bridges work currently underway, or that charts a new but conceptually related direction. There is scope to work with existing large datasets, and to collect novel data. Beyond Pringle's research group, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to interact with other members of Princeton's EEB Department and with collaborators at other institutions. Ph.D. required in biology or a related field, and a strong molecular and bioinformatics background is essential. Prior experience with eDNA analysis is desired, but is not essential if the candidate's laboratory background is sufficiently strong in other dimensions. The appointment is for one year initially, with the possibility of renewal up to three years, based on satisfactory performance and funding. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, and benefits are included. This position is available immediately and will be open until filled. This position is subject to the University's background-check policy. Applicants should apply online at https://www.princeton.edu/acad-positions/position/9381 and include a curriculum vitae, a one page statement of research interests, goals, and experience, and a cover letter with names and contact information of three references.