Postdoctoral Research Position: Extreme event effects on stream fish and salamanders

Postdoctoral Research Position: Extreme event effects on stream fish and salamanders

There is a new postdoc position available with the lab group I work in with Ben Letcher and Evan Grant. Below is a copy of the posting. I’ve just been part of the group for a couple months but I love it. The people are social and great to work with. It’s a high energy group working on lots of really neat projects, but it doesn’t have the high pressure, negative atmosphere that develops in some big academic labs. The group certainly won’t be featured in PhD Comics. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about the group and lab dynamics (project-specific questions will have to be directed to Ben Letcher).

Climate change will likely increase the frequency and severity of extreme events. Understanding and forecasting biological response to extreme events represents a key challenge to applied ecology. This project involves incorporating forecasts of extreme events into population models for stream fish and salamanders in the northeastern US. Existing models include detailed demographic models (integral projection models), abundance models and occupancy models. Extreme events in streams mainly result in floods and droughts, so models will account for effects of these drivers on vital rates and probabilities of local extinction. Models will primarily rely on existing data, but there is an opportunity to conduct flume tests of the effects of environmental drivers on vital rates if necessary. The post-doc will collaborate directly with a hydrologic modeler, and indirectly with a large team of environmental and biological modelers.

The USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center in Turners Falls, MA seeks a postdoctoral research associate to develop demographic models for species response to extreme events. The project is part of a larger US Department of Interior effort to understand effects of hurricanes on the northeastern US. Preferred start date is September 1, 2014.

Competitive candidates will have skills in demographic modeling (projection matrices, abundance and occupancy models), estimation (particularly in a Bayesian context), and optimization, with previous experience working on collaborative research projects and familiarity with headwater streams. We are especially interested in applicants with experience linking environmental drivers to demographic models. The successful candidate will also have excellent writing and personal communication skills. Applicants are expected to have earned a Ph.D. degree in a relevant discipline, preferably within the last 2 years.

Salary is $52K per year plus a health care allowance, with support available for 2 years. Travel funds will be provided to attend regional workshops during model development, and to attend professional conferences.

Send a letter describing your background and experiences as they relate to this position, and a CV with names and contact information for three references to Ben Letcher ( To receive full consideration, send application materials by 31 March 2014.


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