Postdoctoral Scholar

Job description

Job location: Colby College

Employment Type: Full-time
Posted data: 2021-04-02
Req: R0000238
Job DescriptionDepartment:Biology - StaffPay Rate Type:SalaryEmployee Type:Job Summary:Department of Biology
Temporary (2.5 years), Full-Time, Exempt, Salaried, Administrative Staff Appointment

The Barner Lab in the Department of Biology at Colby College invites applications for a postdoctoral scholar position, with funding for 2.5 years. We seek candidates with a Ph.D. in ecology or marine biology to join a NSF-funded grant exploring the consequences of local extinction in the dynamic Gulf of Maine rocky intertidal food web. This collaborative project between labs at Colby College and University of Colorado Boulder asks (1) What is the impact of recent species losses on the structure and stability of the Gulf of Maine rocky intertidal food web? (2) How do both direct and secondary species losses alter multiple ecosystem functions in this food web? To address these questions, this project integrates food web modeling, field observations, data synthesis, and experimental species removals. The postdoctoral scholar will spearhead the field component of this project, testing the predictions of the food web model in a multi-year experiment that quantifies how the diversity, structure, and function of the network is affected by targeted species removal.

The position will allow for multiple professional development opportunities, including training at a small liberal arts college, collaborations across institutions, undergraduate mentoring, quantitative skills development, and outreach. This position is particularly well-suited for a candidate with extensive field experience who seeks to develop their quantitative skills. While this is a full-time research appointment, there will also be teaching opportunities with research expectations adjusted accordingly.

The postdoctoral scholar will join the Barner Lab in the Biology Department at Colby College and work closely with the Dee Lab in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at University of Colorado Boulder. Located in Waterville, Maine, Colby College is one of America’s most selective colleges. Colby College has been investing in its marine science partnerships over the last decade, and the successful candidate will have opportunities to work with scientists and students at the renowned Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. A partnership between Colby and the UpEast Foundation also provides the rare opportunity to conduct field research on the secluded Allen Island, a 450 acre private island in the Gulf of Maine. We encourage inquiries from candidates who will contribute to the diversity of our College, including its cultural and ethnic diversity.


  • Lead the management and analysis of field data, present and write relevant manuscripts, and mentor undergraduate students at Colby College
  • Conduct field research on Allen Island
  • Provide informal mentoring to undergraduates
  • Work with scientists and students at Colby College and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science
  • Participate in project outreach activities
  • Must be able to assist with troubleshooting and adjusting experimental protocols to ensure project completion in a timely fashion
  • Provide diligent documentation, record-keeping, and reporting of experimental data
  • Consult with other faculty or literature as needed
  • Follow all department safety requirements
  • Perform additional duties as assigned; duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice


  • Ph.D. in Ecology, Marine Biology, Botany, Zoology, or a related field
  • Demonstrated research experience in community ecology; experience working in intertidal or subtidal ecosystems preferred
  • Proven experience in organizing and managing field-based projects, including the management of field assistants; prior experience leading a team preferred
  • Strong skills in data management and analysis of ecological experiments; data analysis or scientific programming in R preferred
  • Ability to do extensive field work in an intertidal setting; travel to Allen Island will be necessary monthly, with a schedule dictated by occurrence of low tides.
  • Strong verbal and written scientific communication skills, including a proven capacity to publish in peer-reviewed journals
  • Ability to work with undergraduate students, independently and as a member of a team, collaboratively as a member of a diverse community
  • Creative approach to problem solving
  • Excellent time management and attention to detail
  • Experience or interest in undergraduate mentoring
  • Valid driver’s license required and must meet the College’s Fleet Safety Policy requirements


Position reports to the principal investigator Allison Barner. This position has significant interactions with students and interacts with other faculty and staff.


Position will involve frequent local travel between Colby and the Maine coast, to conduct research year-round on Allen Island. Field work involves both day trips to the island and overnight stays, with extensive hiking around the island in varied weather conditions. Computer usage involving repetitive hand/wrist motion is also necessary.


Interested candidates should apply electronically by clicking the "Apply" button on the Colby Careers website. Please submit a CV, cover letter that outlines relevant experience, contact information for 2 references, and a relevant sample publication. Materials should be addressed to:

Postdoctoral Scholar (Department of Biology) - Search Committee
Office of Human Resources
Colby College
5500 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, ME 04901-8855

A review of applications will begin immediately, though applications will be accepted until May 3, 2021.




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Job No:
Posted: 4/4/2021
Application Due: 7/3/2021
Work Type: Full Time