Postdoctoral Researcher in Ecology or Paleoecology

I am seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow with strong quantitative background to work on a three-year NSF-funded project on spatial and temporal diversity patterns of soil arthropods and climate change at Rutgers University, NJ. The project aims to integrate paleoecological data, isotope geochemistry and community ecology to assemble, describe, and analyze the long-term responses (i.e., ~50 kyr BP years to present) of soil arthropod communities to changes in climate (i.e., precipitation).

Opportunities and Key Responsibilities: In this project we will sample and study arthropod fossil remains from rodent middens in the Atacama Desert as well as modern arthropod communities. These middens provide unparalleled opportunities for long-term and large spatial scale studies of patterns of diversity and community structure of soil arthropods throughout the thousands of years. Exploratory samplings of rodent middens have provided information about the extraordinarily rich fossil assemblage from the Atacama Desert. The project aims to (i) reconstruct and describe temporal and spatial diversity patterns of ancient and modern soil arthropod communities; (ii) relate arthropod diversity patterns to changes in rainfall and plant productivity across spatial and temporal scales; and (ii) establish community-level baselines, and test for local to regional fidelity of modern, centennial and millennial-scale arthropod remains. In addition, this project will develop a toolkit for analyses of arthropod communities in paleoecological research.

The successful candidate will spearhead exciting projects integrating neoecological and paleoecological approaches to understand the responses of soil arthropod communities to climate change. More specifically, the postdoc will lead field work efforts in Chile. The postdoc will also lead data analysis and manuscript preparation, and mentor graduate and undergraduate students. The position will allow for multiple professional development opportunities, including training in highly interdisciplinary science, collaborations across institutions, mentorship toward scientific writing, presentation, and professional development, and interactions with graduate and undergraduate students.

Location: The González research group is located in the Joint Health Science Center associated to Rutgers University in Camden NJ. Rutgers Camden campus is located with walking distance (or by subway) from the city of Philadelphia, PA.

González lab website: https://agonzalez.blogs.rutgers.edu/

Rutgers University-Camden campus: https://camden.rutgers.edu/new/

Center for Computational and Integrative Biology https://ccib.camden.rutgers.edu/ 

The qualified candidates will work at Rutgers University under the supervision of Dr. Angélica L. González. There will also be strong collaboration with Dr. Claudio Latorre (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Dr. Olivier Dézerald (INRAE, France), Dr. Julio Betancourt (USGS and and University of Arizona), and Mario Elgueta (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural Chile).

Qualifications Requirements: At the time of appointment, the candidate will hold a Ph.D. in ecology, paleoecology, zoology, biogeography, or a related field. 1. Ideal candidates will have strong background on community ecology or paleoecology.

2. Demonstrated experience in one or more of the following research areas: species diversity patterns, paleoecology, terrestrial arthropods, climate change.

3. Strong quantitative skills, such as data analysis, ecological modeling, or scientific programming (preferable in R).

4. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and a proven capacity to publish original research in peer-reviewed journals are required.

5. Experience in organizing and managing a large-scale field project, including the management of field assistants.

6. Experience and ability to do extensive international field work. Travel to Chile will be necessary for at least two months each year.

7. Demonstrated ability to think and work independently and as part of a team.

8. Experience and interest mentoring students.

Technical skills: Taxonomic expert knowledge on major groups of arthropods is required; lack of determination knowledge is however not prohibitive. Experience with fossil databases will be highly valuable. Prior knowledge and research experience in isotope geochemistry are preferred but not required. Experience with bioinformatics and data synthesis projects is a plus. Familiarity with desert habitats is desirable. Knowledge in Spanish is desirable but not a requirement.

Initial appointment will be for one year, with anticipated funding for a total of three years, conditional upon performance. Competitive salary and benefits are provided. Application deadline: Priority consideration will be given to applications received by March 31, 2021. However, position will remain open until filled.

To apply: Submit, in one pdf, a short motivation (i.e., cover) letter stating your interest in the position and previous experience as it relates to the position, including each of the preferred qualifications. Also, provide a CV, and names and contact information for three professional references.

Applicants should submit all materials to https://jobs.rutgers.edu/postings/127357

or enquire at  angelica.gonzalez@rutgers.edu

Would you like to work with Angélica?

I welcome applications from talented and motivated students for community and ecosystem ecology. For students joining my lab, attitude, passion, and commitment are at least as important as grades and experience. I place a premium on creativity, the desire to learn, quantitative skills, and hard work (intellectual and physical). I take an active role in mentoring students but expect students to think, develop and pursue their own questions; I encourage my students to work on projects that are a complement to my own projects. Grad school is about taking advantage of all the opportunities for intellectual, professional, and personal growth you can find. Hence, I expect my students to participate actively in the life of our lab (lab meetings and discussions), the department (e.g., attending to seminars, meet with visiting speakers), and in social life as well! You will learn as much from your fellows as you will from me.

Because our lab has a very strong field component, you will need to be prepared for long and hard work days and nights, working in remote areas, in makeshift lab. Daily activities involve hiking in difficult, hot and humid terrains, having a high likelihood of bitten by multitude of bugs, to set up experiments, data collection, and indoor sample preparation.

I am also happy to work with undergrads looking for a research experience under several scenarios including volunteer or academic credits.

If you are still interested in our lab, please send me an email (angelica [dot] gonzalez [at] rutgers [dot] edu) telling me:

  1. What gets you excited about ecology, and why community and/or ecosystem ecology seem particularly interesting to you
  2. What kind of reserach experiences you have had to excite you about ecology and encourage you to apply to our lab and/or grad school
  3. Your CV