University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California (US)
Aug 02, 2017
Oct 01, 2017
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type



Many ungulates migrate seasonally to prolong their access to high-quality forage, and potentially reduce their exposure to large carnivores. This behavioral strategy is an important driver of ungulate population productivity and abundance and, as a consequence, underpins many ecological, cultural, and economic values. In northern temperate ecosystems, ungulate migrations typically arise in response to patterns of spring snowmelt, summer green-up, and autumn snowfall across large elevation gradients, making their timing highly sensitive to climatic variation. Human activities, including agricultural subsidies and hunting, may also influence migration timing. Meanwhile, attributes of the green-up can separately affect herd productivity by altering summer range forage quantity and quality.


In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), more than 20,000 elk in numerous distinct herds migrate 30-90 miles twice each year. Year-to-year variation or long-term trends in the timing of these elk migrations could have important implications for many other attributes of the ecosystem, such as rates of disease transmission to livestock, hunter harvest success, and the foraging success of large carnivores. Climatic influences on the growth rate and biomass of high-elevation grasses and forbs could also affect these migratory herds by altering pregnancy and/or calf survival. These questions have been studied at the herd level in several areas, but not across multiple herds at the scale of the entire GYE.


The Middleton lab at UC Berkeley invites applications for a Postdoc to join our research group to study the above-discussed environmental drivers of migratory elk behavior and demography in the GYE. The successful candidate will use aggregated movement, population, harvest, and landscape data for the major GYE elk herds to 1) investigate influences of climate, vegetation phenology and human activity on elk migration behavior; 2) evaluate the influence of summer habitat conditions on elk productivity; and potentially 3) model effects of future climatic shifts on migratory herds’ behavior and demography.


This position will be based in the Middleton Lab at UC Berkeley, but supports a collaborative effort of multiple agencies and universities in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and will require occasional travel to the region. The successful candidate will be responsible for the management and final preparation of existing data sets as well as leadership of data analysis and manuscript preparation.


Basic Qualifications (by time of application)

Candidates must have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation or be enrolled in an accredited PhD or equivalent degree program in Ecology, Environmental Sciences or a related field.


Additional Qualifications (by start date)

• Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent degree in Ecology, Environmental Sciences or a related field

• Demonstrated communication skills, both oral and written

• Ability to work well within complex collaborations and diverse stakeholders

• Sensitivity to special challenges of working with large, shared datasets

• Candidates must also have experience analyzing and modeling animal movements and demography


Preferred Qualifications (by start date)

• Experience working with relevant state, federal, university, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) stakeholders

• Experience working on similar wildlife topics in western North America

• Track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals, including lead authorship



The targeted start date for this position is Fall 2017. The initial appointment is for two years, with renewal based funding and performance. This is a full-time appointment.


Salary and Benefits

Salary will commensurate with qualifications and experience level and based on UC Berkeley salary scales. The annual salary range for this position is $48,216 to $56,400. Generous benefits are included:


To Apply


Interested individuals should include a 1-2 page cover letter describing their research experience and interests along with a current CV and the names and contact information of three references. Letters of reference may be requested for finalists. It is optional to include a statement addressing past and/or potential contributions to diversity through research, teaching, and/or service.


This recruitment will remain open until filled.


Questions regarding this recruitment can be directed to Jen Hunter,


All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e. dossier service or career center) to the UC Berkeley Statement of Confidentiality prior to submitting their letters.


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:


The Department is interested in candidates who will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education through their research or teaching.


The University of California, Berkeley has an excellent benefits package as well as a number of policies and programs in place to support employees as they balance work and family.