Opportunity: Research Associate Position in Wetland Biogeochemistry, LUMCON

A Research Associate in Wetland Biogeohemistry at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) is sought to organize and lead a series of field experiments studying the effects of the Macondo (BP Deepwater Horizon) Oil Spill on coastal marsh ecosystems.  The associate will join a large, multi-institution team of researchers on a BP GRI-funded project studying the impacts of the oil spill and future spills on salt marshes and coastal environments.  The funded position is associated with a collaborative subproject on wetland biogeochemistry and microbial ecology project between Drs. Brian Roberts (LUMCON), Anne Giblin (Marine Biological Laboratory), and Anne Bernhard (Connecticut College).  The objective of the project is to evaluate the impact of oil exposure and remediation activities on marsh elevation and nitrogen biogeochemical processes and microbial communities critical to marsh ecosystem development and land loss.  The research associate will support the field and laboratory analytical activities designed to accomplish this objective.  Specifically, our team will 1) measure soil respiration and greenhouse gas fluxes (CO2, CH4, and N2O); 2) measure CH4 oxidation at sites with methane production; 3) measure nitrification, dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA), and denitrification rates;, 4) characterize microbial community composition, abundance, and transcriptional activity; 5) identify relationships among community measurements, process rates, and abiotic variables in unoiled, oiled, and remediated sites; and 6) monitor sediment elevation changes.  The position will be based at LUMCON and will require extensive field and laboratory work.  This is a unique opportunity to collaborate with top scientists from around the United States in a large, interdisciplinary research project of great importance to the US Gulf Coast and other ecosystems impacted by oil-related activities.

Qualifications:  The candidate must have a M.S. or B.S in ecology, wetland science, biogeochemistry or a related field.  The preferred candidate will have experience managing and/or working in an analytical laboratory.  Familiarity with analytical instrumentation including autoanalyzers (for analysis of inorganic nutrients), TOC/TN analyzers (DON/TDN), elemental analyzers (C, N), and/or gas chromatographs (CO2, CH4, and N2O) is desired.  The candidate will also be expected to participate in field work that may require physical effort to transport equipment in field sites throughout Louisiana that are accessible only by small boats.  The ability to work in a group setting is essential, as this researcher will work collaboratively with the PI’s, post docs, graduate students, and other research associates/technicians on this project as well as personnel on the larger BP GRI project.   The position requires high organizational and communication skills as well as significant database management capabilities.

Duration and Start Date:  Initial appointment is for 1 year, and may be renewed for a total of 2.5 years with this funding, depending upon satisfactory performance.  The desired start date is early 2012.

Location:  The position will be based at the Louisiana University Marine Consortium (LUMCON) at the LUMCON Marine Center in Cocodrie, LA (visit http:///www.lumcon.edu for information on the facility).  The field sites are located along the Louisiana coast between LUMCON and the Mississippi River.  

To Apply:  Send a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, up to three relevant reprints, and the name, address, phone and email contact for at least three individuals qualified to comment on scientific and work qualifications to Dr. Brian Roberts (broberts@lumcon.edu) with “LUMCON BP GRI Research Program Wetlands Research Associate position” in the subject line .  For more information concerning the nature of this position, contact Dr. Brian Roberts by email or phone (985-851-2821).

Deadline:  Review of applications will commence immediately and continue until the position is filled. 

LUMCON offers state benefits and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer that actively seeks diversity among its employees.