Opportunities: Postdoctoral Research, Wetland Biogeochemistry and Plant Ecology, CWC

The Roberts Lab of Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) is seeking two postdoctoral research associates (one in wetland biogeochemistry and one in plant ecology) to organize and lead a series field studies and manipulative experiments studying the effects of the Macondo Oil Spill on coastal marsh ecosystems.

job_picThe postdocs will join a large, multi-institution team of researchers on the Coastal Waters Consortium (CWC) project (http://cwc.lumcon.edu/) funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to study the impacts of the oil spill and future spills on marshes and coastal environments.

Specifically, they will be collaborating with the wetland biogeochemistry and microbial ecology group led by Drs. Brian Roberts (LUMCON), Anne Giblin (Marine Biological Laboratory), and Anne Bernhard (Connecticut College). Our group’s overall objectives since beginning this project in 2012 have been to 1) improve understanding of temporal and spatial patterns in marsh biogeochemical process rates, associated microbial communities and factors regulating these communities and rates; and 2) evaluate the impact of oil exposure on marsh biogeochemical processes and associated microbial communities. The postdocs will have the opportunity to build on extensive data sets with the goal of examining continued impacts as well as the recovery of marsh biogeochemistry, microbial communities, and plant dynamics impacted by the spill. These data sets include multiple years of sampling on wetland biogeochemistry (greenhouse gas fluxes, nitrification, denitrification/DNRA/anammox, phosphorus sorption, iron reduction), associated microbial communities (ammonia oxidizers, denitrifiers, methane oxidizers), and plant above and below ground biomass, production and decomposition. Over the next three years, we intend to expand our work in several areas including examining: impacts of oil exposure on carbon sinks; how plant stress responses link to biogeochemical fluxes; how spatial variability between marsh subhabitats in process rates and communities and their susceptibility to oiling influence our ability to scale up to the whole ecosystem; and how vegetation and salinity alterations might influence impacts expected as result of future spills. This research will include a combination of field/lab studies and manipulative experiments at multiple scales including the use of a large scale marsh mesocosm facility being built as part of CWC. The post-docs will be based at the LUMCON but may be expected to travel periodically to work with collaborators. 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 candidates must have a Ph.D. in ecology, wetland science, biogeochemistry, plant ecology or a related field. The preferred candidate for the biogeochemistry position will have experience with field and laboratory measures of biogeochemical and ecosystem process rates including the use of stable isotope techniques. The preferred candidate for the plant ecology position will have experience making ground-based measurements of spectral reflectance to determine plant physiological status and detect stress and have experience making integrated plant-soil greenhouse gas flux measurements. Both candidates 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 these researchers will work collaboratively with the PIs, other post docs, graduate and undergraduate students, and research associates/technicians on this project as well as personnel on the larger CWC effort. High organizational and communication skills, creativity in methodological development, and understanding of basic experimental design and statistical analyses are required for this position  

Duration and Start Date: Initial appointments are for 1 year, and may be renewed for a total of 2.5 years depending on satisfactory performance. The desired start date is spring 2015, but is negotiable.

Location: Both positions will be based at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (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 1) a letter of interest that describes your interest in the position, your career goals, and details your work and educational experience most relevant to the position, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) up to 3 relevant reprints, and 4) contact information for 3 references to Dr. Brian Roberts (broberts@lumcon.edu) with “Wetland biogeochemistry postdoc position” or “Wetland plant ecology postdoc position” in the subject line. For more information, 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 is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer that actively seeks diversity among its employees.