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Postdoctoral Scholar

Northern Arizona University
Ecosystem Science & Soc Center

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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Job Details

Job Title: Postdoctoral Scholar
Location: Ecosystem Science & Soc Center
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Job ID: 605598
Workplace Culture

NAU is a community devoted to student success and sustained by an unshakable commitment to our shared mission, vision, and values. We—faculty, staff, and administrators—thrive by combining our efforts and working side by side to further NAU’s culture of excellence.

Core Values One NAU side by side Student Centered | Integrity | Diversity | Service | Discovery | Excellence Northern Arizona University

Special Information

This position is supported by external funding, and thus specific tasks and duties must be completed, on schedule, by the postdoctoral research associate. A 12-month commitment is expected. The position is renewable subject to the availability of continued funding.

Immigration Suppt/Sponsorship

NAU will not provide any U.S. immigration support or sponsorship for this position.

Job Description

The Richardson Lab at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, AZ, is seeking a postdoctoral research associate to join the Lab as an ecological data scientist.

The postdoc will quantify the degree of continuity between new measurements conducted at recently-instrumented NEON sites across the United States, and long-term measurements conducted at pre-existing, nearby AmeriFlux sites. The analysis will use data from 11 sites across 8 NEON domains spanning a broad ecoclimatic gradient from Alaska to Florida. The focus will be on surface-atmosphere fluxes of energy, water, and carbon measured by eddy covariance and phenological data derived from PhenoCam imagery. Analyses will be conducted in the time and frequency domains. This position is funded by a new grant from NSF’s Macrosystems Biology program. The Richardson lab is based in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) and the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss). The position is available immediately. A start date of January 1, 2022 is preferred.

Examples of duties and responsibilities:

  • Assembles data sets and documents processing steps for reproducibility
  • Develops and documents open-source code in R and Python to conduct analyses, and shares code through repositories such as Github
  • Conducts geospatial analysis of site heterogeneity using semivariograms and airborne remote sensing products
  • Conducts footprint analysis for NEON and AmeriFlux towers and evaluates the ecological similarity between sites
  • Evaluates agreement between simultaneous NEON and AmeriFlux data (meteorology, fluxes, phenology) using time domain and frequency domain (e.g. wavelet) analyses
  • Develops a “continuity scorecard” providing diagnostic information needed to ensure valid inferences can be derived from integrated NEON and AmeriFlux data sets
  • Mentors an undergraduate research assistant
  • Participates in and leads outreach and training activities including workshops and guest lectures for communities historically underrepresented in STEM fields
  • Contributes as a “lab citizen” to the Richardson Lab group, and to the broader Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at NAU
  • Communicates and collaborates with project team members at other institutions and agencies
  • Leads the preparation of papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • Presents research results at workshops, project meetings, and international conferences (e.g. AGU, ESA)

Minimum Qualifications
  • PhD in Ecology, Ecological modeling, Biometeorology, Plant physiology, Geography, Remote sensing, Earth system science, or a related STEM field
  • A record of publishing peer-reviewed research in top scientific journals
  • Expertise with eddy covariance measurements of surface-atmosphere fluxes, including measurement theory, footprint analysis, understanding of uncertainties and errors on multiple time scales, and experience with processing and/or gap filling these data sets (at a minimum, participation in FluxCourse or equivalent coursework or hands-on experience)

Preferred Qualifications
  • Coursework or documented understanding of basic theory and principles of ecosystem ecology and carbon cycle science
  • Understanding of the role of land surface processes in the earth system
  • Familiarity with standard flux data processing tools, e.g. EddyPro, REddyProc, and Flux Footprint Prediction
  • Experience working with airborne remote sensing data, preferably from the NEON AOP and/or Harmonized Landsat-Sentinel products
  • Experience working with and manipulating other large, gridded data sets (e.g. reanalysis products)
  • Experience with frequency-domain analyses e.g. wavelets, Fourier analysis, or other signal processing tools for spectral decomposition
  • Experience with geostatistical methods including variogram models
  • Training and/or documented proficiency in coding with Python and R
  • Evidence of previous contributions to code repositories such as GitHub

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a research team and with individuals from a variety of cultural backgrounds
  • Ability to take initiative and complete tasks without direct supervision
  • Excellent quantitative and analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills, as demonstrated by publications and presentations at professional meetings
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills

Background Information

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements - Under the recent executive order issued by President Biden requiring all employees of federal contractors to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, NAU expects all employees, including new hires, to be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation. Proof of vaccination will be required by December 8, 2021. For questions about vaccines and medical or religious accommodations, please visit FAQs for Employee Vaccination Requirement.

Northern Arizona University requires satisfactory results for the following: a criminal background investigation, an employment history verification and a degree verification (in some cases) prior to employment. You may also be required to complete a fingerprint background check.

Additionally, as an employer in the state of Arizona, NAU is required to participate in the federal E-Verify program that assists employers with verifying new employees' right to work in the United States.

Finally, each year Northern Arizona University releases an Annual Security Report. The report is a result of a federal law known as the Clery Act. The report includes Clery reportable crime statistics for the three most recent completed calendar years and discloses procedures, practices and programs NAU uses to keep students and employees safe including how to report crimes or other emergencies occurring on campus. In addition, the Fire Safety Report is combined with the Annual Security Report for the NAU Flagstaff Mountain Campus as this campus has on-campus student housing. This report discloses fire safety policies and procedures related to on-campus student housing and statistics for fires that occurred in those facilities.

If you would like a free paper copy of the report, please contact the NAUPD Records Department at (928) 523-8884 or by visiting the department at 525 E. Pine Knoll Drive in Flagstaff.


Commensurate with experience.

**The starting salary will be determined by the qualifications of the selected applicant balanced with departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information.

FLSA Status

This position is exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore will not earn overtime or compensatory time for additional time worked.


Post-Doctoral Scholars are hired on a contract basis, renewable each fiscal year for a maximum of 4 renewals (5 years) according to terms of the Arizona Board of Regents' Conditions of Post-Doctoral Service.

NAU offers an excellent benefit package to Post-Doctoral Scholars including generous health, dental and vision insurance; 10 days of vacation and 10 holidays per year; and tuition reduction for employees and qualified family members. New employees are eligible for benefits on the first day of the pay period following their enrollment, after their employment date. Employees will have 31 days from their start date to enroll in benefits. Participation in NAU retirement plans is not available to Post-Doctoral Scholars. More information on benefits at NAU is available at the NAU HR benefits page.

Learning and Development

Your career at Northern Arizona University includes the opportunity for professional development. New employee on-boarding training includes courses to be completed within the first 30 days. If your position includes the supervision of a benefit-eligible employee, we offer the NAU Supervisors Academy for you to complete within your first 2 years.

Application Deadline

November 22nd, 2021 at 11:59pm.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please click on the "Apply" button on this page. You must submit your application by clicking on the "Submit" button by midnight of the application deadline. If you need assistance completing your application there are instructions available on the Human Resources website or in person in the Human Resources Department located in Building 91 on the NAU Campus - on the corner of Beaver and DuPont Streets.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodation to participate in the hiring process please contact the Office of Equity and Access at: 928-523-3312/TDD - 928-523-1006 or PO Box 4083, Flagstaff AZ 86011.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

EEO is the Law Poster and Supplements

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.


Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public university offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees of high quality and societal value.  Students are at the center of the NAU experience, which is guided by a dedicated and distinguished faculty committed to teaching, individual engagement, and research excellence.

Our educational programs are designed to prepare our students for personal and professional success after graduation.

Whether they earn their degrees at our historic Flagstaff campus, regionally throughout Arizona, or online, we prepare our students to achieve their human potential in ways that serve the state, the region, the nation, and the world.

If you can see yourself as part of a university community dedicated to its students and their success, NAU might be the right fit for you.

Find Us
PO Box 4113 Flagstaff, AZ 86011
United States
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