Postdoctoral Researcher in spatial ecology and wildlife/habitat management: Virginia/Remote

Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA / Remote
Job Category
Post Doctoral Appointments
$52,000 plus benefits
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The USGS Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher position to work with Dr. Elizabeth Hunter ( The researcher will focus on two projects related to spatial ecology, simulation modeling, and the development of R packages for use in wildlife and habitat management. The first project (1-year duration) is funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in collaboration with The Jones Center (Dr. Lora Smith) and involves development of line transect distance sampling (LTDS) monitoring methods for translocated gopher tortoise populations at recipient sites. The researcher will develop i) simulation scenarios that represent the range of likely conditions at recipient sites (e.g., size, shape, and habitat condition of sites) and LTDS scenarios (e.g., number of observers, placement of transects), ii) a flexible analysis framework for estimating tortoise population density that accounts for recipient site idiosyncrasies, iii) a standard operating procedure for LTDS surveys on recipient sites, iv) a user-friendly annotated R script or package for future data analysis by state biologists or authorized agents, and v) development of a training workshop on all project materials. The second project (0.5-year duration) is funded by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. and involves developing an R package for spatially explicit, multi-objective optimization of timber harvest scheduling that could be applied to the management of at-risk species (e.g., gopher tortoises) and other environmental objectives in working forest landscapes. This project would build on existing software (Habplan, written in Java) and add functionality, including optimization for landscape configuration and multi-species management. One postdoctoral researcher is sought to work on both projects as they have overlapping requirements of skills and expertise in spatial programming in R. The position can be primarily remote, although occasional travel may be required to meet with partners. To apply: Email a cover letter outlining interests and qualifications, CV, and names and contact information for three potential references as a single pdf document to Elizabeth Hunter ( Review of applications will begin immediately and end on January 14, 2022. Qualified applicants will be requested to submit application materials to the Virginia Tech employment website prior to scheduling Zoom interviews. Please direct all questions to Elizabeth Hunter (
Required qualifications: - PhD in natural resources, fish and wildlife management, ecology, forestry or related field - Expertise in R programming, including developing novel R scripts in association with peer-review publications - Expertise in spatial modeling using R - Excellent verbal and written communication skills Preferred qualifications: - Working with managers to iteratively and collaboratively develop models or software - Experience analyzing wildlife population data accounting for imperfect detection (e.g., distance models, occupancy models), preferably in a Bayesian framework - Experience with simulation modeling and/or multi-objective optimization
Contact Person
Elizabeth Hunter
Contact eMail
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