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University of California Santa Barbara
  • Position Number: 3298872
  • Location: Santa Barbara, CA
  • Position Type: Agriculture - Environmental Science, Ecology & Forestry

Postdoctoral Researcher in Terrestrial Ecosystem/Community Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Job #JPF02228
Marine Science Institute / Office of Research / UC Santa Barbara

Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: Expected appointment begin date: Ideally the start date would be April 1, 2023 or May 1, 2023 but would consider June 1, 2023.
Position duration: Expected appointment end date: 12 months from start date, with the possibility for a second year of appointment contingent upon performance.

Open date: August 1st, 2022

Next review date: Saturday, Oct 15, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Saturday, Dec 31, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

This position is for a post-doctoral scientist in terrestrial ecology within an NSF-funded project studying the ecological legacy effects of elephant carcasses in African savanna ecosystems. The Postdoctoral Researcher would work closely with Drs. Deron Burkepile and Josh Schimel at UC Santa Barbara, as well as collaborators at Utah State University, Marquette University, the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), and South African National Parks (SANParks). Field work will be conducted in Kruger National Park in South Africa. This position will focus on the effects across space (landscape scale) and time (decadal scale) of elephant carcasses on ecosystem processes that influence communities of plants and large mammals. Fieldwork will offer an exciting and unparalleled opportunity to work in pristine savanna ecosystems across gradients of rainfall and soil nutrients. It will also require a special combination of personal attributes including self-reliance under the challenging conditions presented by the study system. We seek a candidate with a background in community or ecosystem ecology with significant field experience and excellent quantitative skills. The project has components relating to soil nutrient dynamics, primary production, plant community dynamics, and herbivory (by both large vertebrates and small invertebrates). So, the post-doctoral scholar would have significant latitude to explore research interests linking these different topics. The post-doctoral scholar will be required to advance the broader impacts of the research by working with a videography team, local students at South African institutions, and undergraduate interns to a) facilitate the production of a documentary video for an international audience and b) collaboratively produce several educational pieces for K-12 and college audiences (e.g., lectures and educational videos).

Special Conditions
  • Valid Passport
  • Ability and willingness to travel to work with collaborators at their home institutions within the US as well as travel internationally for field work in South Africa
  • The position will be located on the UCSB campus and field research will occur in Kruger National Park in South Africa

    Salary and Benefits: Full benefits package included.

    The Department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching and service as appropriate to the position.


    Basic qualifications (required at time of application)
    Applicants must have completed all requirements for a PhD program (or equivalent) except the dissertation in ecology, environmental science, or a closely related discipline at the time of appointment.

    Additional qualifications (required at time of start)
    The applicant must have a doctoral degree in ecology, environmental science or a closely related discipline at the time of appointment.

    Preferred qualifications
  • Experience in community or ecosystem ecology, especially relating soil nutrient dynamics to plant community dynamics, herbivory, or ecosystem processes
  • Experience with remote field work including driving 4x4 vehicles, hiking long distances, comfort working around wild animals in challenging environmental conditions
  • Experience coding and analyzing data in R
  • Experience with landscape ecology and GIS
  • Ability to manage, analyze, and synthesize data
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated record of publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • Experience with outreach, mentoring, and supervising others
  • Willingness to conduct field work in African savannas

    Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Publication 1 - 1 of 2 PDFs of published peer-reviewed scientific papers or of manuscripts in progress.

  • Publication 2 - 2 of 2 PDFs of published peer-reviewed scientific papers or of manuscripts in progress.

    Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)
    The search committee may contact references of the top candidate after the interviews. After references are checked, a top candidate will be chosen.

    Apply link:
    Help contact:

    The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will 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.

    As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy: All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. Please refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for the deadlines applicable to new University of California employees. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

    Santa Barbara, CA

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