Postdoctoral Associate

Boulder, Colorado
Jun 10, 2021
Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
Requisition Number:


Boulder, Colorado Employment Type:

Research FacultySchedule:

Full-TimePosting Close Date:

09-Jun-2021Date Posted:

09-Jun-2021 Close All Job SummaryThe Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research group is looking for a postdoctoral associate who will lead the development of ecological modeling efforts using LTER observations and the Community Land Model (CLM). Simulations will focus on ecosystem dynamics at single-point scales across vegetation community gradients at the NWT LTER. Special focus for the work will be to evaluate the fidelity of simulated abiotic (snow, soil moisture and soil temperature), biotic (plant productivity), and biogeochemical (soil carbon and nitrogen) dynamics using data from long-term measurements, experimental manipulations, eddy covariance towers, and remote sensing. Dr. Will Wieder will supervise the postdoctoral associate who will be based in Boulder to work with data and collaborators at the Niwot Ridge LTER, University of Colorado, as well as National Center for Atmospheric Research.
The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Who We AreAs the University’s oldest institute, lNSTAAR (Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research) has a long history of responding to pressing environmental issues. Our traditional focus has been on polar and alpine regions, where effects of global change are especially pronounced. In recent decades, our research has broadened to include environmental challenges that span local, regional, and global scales. Research topics vary widely and include Quaternary and modern environments, human and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape evolution, hydrology, oceanography, and climate.
The N iwot Ridge LTER is an integrated research project with the goal of understanding ecological processes in high-elevation mountain ecosystems. Mountain ecosystems – where high topographic relief means habitat can vary greatly over short distances, and seemingly small changes in temperature will transform snowfall into rain- are among the most vulnerable to climate change. The Niwot Ridge LTER seeks to better understand how climate change leads to ecological change, and we need your help!What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be
  1. Quantify biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks of shrub expansion on alpine ecosystems;
  2. Develop a predictive approach that uses plant traits and topographic heterogeneity to better understand future shifts in alpine shrub abundance;
  3. Project potential changes ecosystem services that may be expected under climate change scenarios at Niwot Ridge.
What You Should KnowThe position is based at the University of Colorado. The core of this position will be in evaluating and modifying simulations with the Community Land model configured to run for single-point simulations for vegetation communities at the Niwot Ridge LTER site.
Initially, the project will use the standard “big leaf” version of the model, but we hope to be able to exercise new features including the hillslope hydrology module or Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES).
Experience running models like CLM is not a requirement for this position, but a willingness to learn how to run CLM will be critical for this work. As the project matures there may be an opportunity to collect additional data (especially on plant physiology) from field sites that range in elevation from 9,500 feet at the Mountain Research Station, to over 12,000 feet at some of our higher elevation sites.What We Can OfferSalary will start at $55,000.00 annually.BenefitsThe University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.Be StatementsBe Adaptable. Be Adventurous. Be Boulder.What We Requirea PhD in ecology, biology, hydrology or related field (completed degree within three months of start of job) and firsthand experience with data harmonization and exposure to modeling with CLM. What You Will NeedThis position requires an independent, organized, and motivated individual with demonstrated research skills. The successful candidate will be someone genuinely excited by research with a strong desire to learn how to integrate ecological observations with the CLM land model. Above all, the candidate must be personable and enthusiastic about working in a collaborative group environment.
  • Theoretical and empirical expertise in ecosystem ecology and or plant physiology.
  • Proficiency working with large environmental datasets and demonstrated experience with data harmonization, complex analysis structures, online data dissemination and data publication.
  • Strong quantitative and statistical skills accompanied by programming expertise in R, Python, and spatial data analysis platforms.
  • Knowledge and expertise with field and laboratory methods commonly used to quantify plant physiological traits.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct independent research and publish in the peer- reviewed scientific literature.
  • Strong attention to detail
  • The desire to work as part of a team to achieve goals.
What We Would Like You To Have
  • Coding experience of any kind in R, Python, Fortran, Matlab, or others.
  • Previous fieldwork experience.
  • The ability to work on multiple projects both as part of a team, and independently to achieve goals and solve problems as they arise in the field.
  • Flexibility to rearrange priorities and expectations as the research project matures.
  • Demonstrated ability to self-motivate and help keep your team motivated when challenges arise.
  • The ability to remain organized and focused amidst a variety of tasks, and creatively solve problems as they arise.
  • The ability to hike 2-10 miles during the day at high altitude (10,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation) with a full backpack over rough and changing terrain.
  • Knowledge of back country travel and safety practices, or willingness to learn, including CPR, Basic and/or Wilderness First Aid.
  • The ability to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce.
**Please note that while this position details both required and desired skills and experience, applicants do not need to have all of the desired skills and experience to be considered. If you meet the minimum qualifications, have passion for the work and some experience in a related field, you are encouraged to apply. We provide on-the-job training for skills and knowledge relevant to the position.
Special InstructionsTo apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV: outlining education and relevant work or volunteer experience
  2. Cover Letter: A brief cover letter with answers to the application questions below.
    1. Why are you interested in this position? Why do you think you would be a good fit for this job? What will you bring to the job that other applicants may not?
    2. Describe any relevant experience you have through, e.g. jobs, volunteering, course work, outdoor recreation, and any outdoor safety certifications (wilderness first aide, CPR, etc.).
    3. Are you capable of performing a physically demanding job and working outdoors at a high elevation in an environment where there is lots of sun exposure and often cold, windy, stormy weather?
    4. The Niwot Ridge LTER is dedicated to supporting and enhancing the diversity of scientific communities. Please describe how you, based on your personal background and life experiences (including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges) will contribute to this mission during your time at Niwot Ridge (200 words or less).
  3. 1 Letter of Recommendation (Not Confidential)
Review of applications will begin on Thursday, June 10th.
Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.Posting Contact InformationPosting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: [email protected]

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