Postdoctoral Associate in Spatial Ecology – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor
Job Category
Post Doctoral Appointments
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
We seek a postdoctoral scholar for an exciting new NASA-funded project investigating the effects of vegetation structure and water stress on the behaviors and demographics of large mammal species in the western United States. The successful candidate will assist with 1) synthesizing large datasets in a geospatial modeling framework; 2) developing and implementing models that relate NASA Earth Observation data with spatial databases of animal locations and demographic parameters; 3) analyzing and visualizing model outputs to share with wildlife-management agency partners and other decision makers; and 4) writing scientific, peer-reviewed publications. The successful candidate will be advised by Dr. Neil Carter and located at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS, Ann Arbor campus). The position is for 24 months, with the possibility of extension based on performance, need and funding. The position start date is Spring or early Summer 2022, but could be sooner if the candidate is available. In water-limited environments, patterns and intensity of habitat use, as well as behaviors such as foraging, travel, migration, and resting all depend on food and water availability, connectivity, and thermal landscape characteristics. The dry-temperate regions of the western United States encompass a substantial gradient in vegetation structure and water demand and harbor a number of large mammal species, including mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep, and their principal predator, the cougar. All of these species are ecologically important, migrate across ecoregional and jurisdictional boundaries, and are the focus of large-scale, multi-state, conservation efforts. The successful candidate will apply ecological datasets based on the NASA Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) and ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) in spatial predictions of fitness costs and benefits for each of these important migratory herbivores and their principal predator. The candidate will also work closely with various organizations such as state wildlife agencies and USFS.
PhD (by start time of position) in Conservation, Ecology, Geography, Natural Resources, Wildlife Sciences or related field, from an accredited university. Competitive applicants will have strong numerical and statistical modeling background and experience with computer programming and coding (e.g., R, Python), GIS and remote sensing applications, analyzing large datasets, and working in collaborative teams. Strong written and verbal communication skills and a demonstrated ability to work both in a team environment and independently are required. Candidates with experience analyzing GPS collar datasets are strongly preferred. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience with development of wildlife habitat and movement models, for example, Hidden Markov Models and integrated Step Selection Functions. Preference will also be given to scholars with a proven publication record.
Contact Person
Neil Carter
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