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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Forest Landscape Ecology

In Brief: Seeking an exceptional post-doc to advance the Harvard Forest’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program and a Coupled Natural and Human systems (CNH) research project, both focused scenario and simulation modeling of forest insects, land use, and climate change impacts on New England forests. This is an exciting opportunity for a landscape or macrosystems ecologist with interests in global change and coupled human and natural systems.

Work Location: The post-doc will be part of Jonathan Thompson’s Landscape Ecology Lab at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA

The Position:  

  • We’ve spent several years assembling datasets, engaging with stakeholders, and building simulation models to help us understand the interactive effects of climate and land-use change on the New England landscape.  We are now seeking an extremely motivated post-doc to exploit these resources by conducting novel analyses, publishing impactful papers, and creating public-facing tools and publications. The position comes with all the ingredients needed for an early career scholar to build a reputation as a leader in the fields of ecology and sustainability science.  While the general themes of the work are dictated by the funding, the position comes with considerable autonomy to shape the direction of the research.    
  • The position is closely linked to a Research Coordination Network called Scenarios and Services for Society. The S3 RCN has resources and relationships that will facilitate the Post-doc’s collaborations with RCN sciences working throughout the region, including at: Harvard, Highstead Foundation, U. of Massachusetts, The Gund Institute at the U. of Vermont, and the U. of New Hampshire. 
  • The position is partially funded by an NSF CNH grant called: “Assessing the potential for climate change and forest insects to drive land-use regime shifts.” The incumbent will collaborate closely with the project Co-PIs including: Dave Orwig and David Foster of Harvard Forest; Marla Lindsay and Dave Kittredge of U. of Massachusetts; Brett Butler of the U.S. Forest Service, and Mark Borsuk of Duke. As part of this project, we’ve just developed a unique coupled modeling framework to mechanistically explore ecosystem and landowner responses to forest pests and climate change. The post-doc will use this model compare the direct and indirect (socially mediated) impacts of insects and climate change on forest ecosystems. 

Job Duties: The post doc will be responsible for using simulation models to conduct landscape-scale analyses designed to understand the regional-scale consequences of diverse forest processes land-uses, including: land owner response to insect outbreaks, land protection, harvesting, and alternative development patterns.  The incumbent will build upon previous parameterizations of landscape simulations models (LANDIS-II-PnET, Dinamica, land-owner systems models etc).  The post-doc will collaborate with PIs to publish results in high-impact scientific outlets and collaborate with science communication experts to maximize the application and impact of the research.

Required Qualifications: Ph.D. in forest ecology, forestry, geography, or related field; Evidence of strong scholarship, including high-impact peer-reviewed publications; Capable of conducting complex spatial analyses (e.g. landscape simulation, GIS, remote sensing, and spatial statistics); Skilled at scripting within the R and/or Python programming languages; Proven ability to plan and conduct independent research projects from beginning to end. 

Preferred Experience: Research within coupled human-natural systems; systems modeling; quantifying ecosystem services; Ability to program in C++ or C# would be a major asset. 

Appointment: Initial appointment of one year is renewable for additional years based on performance. The position is available immediately, and preference will be given to applicants who can start sooner than later.   

Harvard Forest: An internationally recognized center for basic and applied research in ecology, conservation and ecosystem studies, with 40 full-time staff is one of 26 LTER sites across the country sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The Forest facilities include a research and administrative complex, 4,000 acres of land, and residential buildings. The Forest is located in Petersham, a small rural town in north central Massachusetts about 70 miles west of Cambridge. For more information, visit http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu. Harvard University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Salary: $45,000-50,000 per annum DOE, plus health insurance benefits through Harvard University.

To apply: Send cover letter, CV, PDFs of relevant publications, and the names and contact info for three references to Jonathan Thompson: jthomps@fas.harvard.edu