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Postdoctoral Fellow II - Ecology Center - Social-ecological management of invasive plants

Utah State University
Logan, Utah, US
Closing date
Oct 28, 2021

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
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Incumbents in the Postdoctoral Fellow position are provided the opportunity for advanced academic preparation and research training under the guidance of a supervising faculty mentor (Dr. Karin Kettenring). Postdoctoral appointments are temporary by nature and are designed to develop the postdoctoral scholar as an independent researcher and to enhance their professional skills in academia. This is a 2-year position with the second-year dependent on satisfactory performance in year 1. Beyond 2 years, the position is subject to the availability of funds.


The postdoc will:

lead cutting-edge experiments to reestablish native vegetation following Phragmites management to support an array of stakeholder valued ecosystem services

conduct a retrospective analysis of past Phragmites management to inform future prioritization

collaborate on a Phragmites monitoring protocol, a spatial prioritization model to inform future management, and a regional action plan that can be extended to other invasive plants

This position is supported by a Delta Stewardship Council grant in collaboration with Dr. John Takekawa (Suisun Resource Conservation District), Dr. Virginia Matzek (Santa Clara University), Dr. Zhao Ma (Purdue University), Dr. Richelle Tanner (Chapman University), and two social science-focused postdocs.

This position is flexibly co-located between Utah State University (Logan, UT; Dr. Karin Kettenring) and Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA; Dr. Virginia Matzek). USU is the hiring institution. We will provide funds to cover travel expenses to research sites and conferences and also provide opportunities for professional development. Preferred start date is January 2022.

The locations: Since the postdoc will be employed by USU, they may choose to reside in picturesque Logan, UT, 85 miles north of Salt Lake City. Logan has a low cost of living and is located in a mountain basin with nearby ski resorts, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and mountains that provide unparalleled recreational opportunities. Travel to the research site in CA will occur approximately 3-4 times a year and SCU will serve as local host for fieldwork. Alternatively, the postdoc may choose to reside closer to the field site with SCU as the local university host. The fieldwork will occur in Suisun Marsh, the largest brackish wetland on the West Coast of N. America.

Reporting and Supervisory Responsibilities:

The Postdoctoral Fellow reports to Professor Karin M. Kettenring, Ph.D. This classification may train and supervise student employees.

Essential Functions:

May conduct a specified program of research and scholarship under supervision and direction.

May design, organize and conduct independent research and experiments.

Analyzes data and prepares materials for publication and presentation both in written and oral formats.

May assist in the training and supervision of a cohort of undergraduate researchers.

May participate in and organize seminars.

May assist in the training and recruitment of graduate students.

May coordinate field crews, equipment logistics, and data collection.

Maintains a solid publication record.

May teach classes and offer advising support to students.

Works well in a collaborative, inter-disciplinary environment.

Maintains laboratory and its daily operation, including managing undergraduate researchers, assisting graduate students and senior personnel, managing laboratory budgets, ordering supplies, and maintaining equipment.

May help locate funding opportunities and write research proposals to acquire additional funds.

Performs miscellaneous duties as assigned.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Ability to interpret and analyze data.

Knowledge of laboratory techniques and safety.

Skilled in statistical analysis.

Knowledge of the principles of the peer review process.

Ability to present research in both spoken and written formats.

Ability to teach concepts to students of various backgrounds.

Organizational and project management skills.

Ability to develop novel analytical approaches.

Ability to implement existing methodology and develop new approaches to experiments.

Skilled with computers and programs relevant to department.

Ability to operate specialized scientific equipment as required.

Minimum Qualifications:

An earned Doctorate in a related field by the time of appointment plus experience conducting original research is required. In addition, (1) A PhD in ecology, plant science, restoration ecology, wetland ecology, or related field; (2) Experience in collecting and analyzing plant population or community data; (3) Interests in wetland restoration/revegetation, plant ecology, functional traits, ecosystem services, invasion resistance, and invasive plant management; (4) Willingness and ability to travel to conduct extended fieldwork (e.g., one or more months); (5) Excellent oral and written communication skills; (6) Willingness and ability to both lead efforts and be an effective team member.

Work Environment and Physical Requirements:

Employees work indoors and outdoors. Indoors, the employee is regularly required to sit and often uses repetitive hand motions. This position requires strenuous physical activity during field work. Employees are exposed to extreme temperatures, bright sun, mud/standing water, mosquitoes, and other insects. Some field days may involve long drives to field sites and long hours. Camping may be involved for field work at more remote sites.

Fundamental Abilities:

Within the scope and complexity of each position's responsibilities, each incumbent is expected to possess and demonstrate the following abilities:

Communicating: Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing.

Problem solving: Analyzes information and evaluates results to select the best solution and solve problems.

Monitoring: Measures performance of self; makes improvements and takes appropriate corrective action.

Critical Thinking: Comes to well-reasoned conclusions, solutions, and approaches to problems.

Team Building: Works to create a team-based environment. Consistently demonstrates cooperative behavior with colleagues, supervisors, and customers.

Active Listening: Gives full attention when others are speaking; listens to understand, asks questions as appropriate, and does not interrupt.

Service Orientation: Actively seeks opportunities to help others.

Conflict Resolution: Acts professionally when encountering customers who, at times, may be frustrated or threatening.

Core Characteristics:

As representatives of Utah State University and primary contributors to its mission, all employees are expected to demonstrate the following characteristics:

Take initiative

Maintain confidentiality.

Be accountable.

Behave ethically.

Be honest and trustworthy.

Demonstrate a strong work ethic.

Be inquisitive.

Be detail oriented.

Be self-motivated.

Efficiently manage multiple tasks.

Be a team player.

Be committed to improving USU.


This position description indicates the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive list of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to the position.

Required Documents:

Along with the online application, please attach:

1. Curriculum vitae to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under "Resume/RESUME"

2. Contact information for three professional references

3. Two examples of relevant publications or writing samples to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under "Documents 1-5"

4. Cover letter describing your relevant experience and scholarly interests to be typed/pasted at the end of your application

Document size may not exceed 10 MB.

Advertised Salary:

Commensurate with education and experience, plus excellent benefits.


Employees work indoors and are protected from weather and/or contaminants, but not, necessarily, occasional temperature changes. The employee is regularly required to sit and often uses repetitive hand motions.

University Highlights:

Utah State University (USU) was founded in 1888 and is honored to be Utah's land-grant and space-grant university. USU is a Carnegie RU/H (Research University/High Research Activity) institution with approximately 27,700 students (24,660 undergraduates and 3,040 graduate students) on the Logan main campus. Utah State's statewide system features eight campuses and 23 education centers and serves all counties in the state with Extension programs. USU offers 114 undergraduate majors, 132 graduate programs, and a variety of innovative stackable associate and certificate credentials. in 2019 and the in 2018. As one of the two premier research institutions in Utah, USU is proud to provide a high-quality education at an affordable price. Additional information about Utah State University can be found .

A core characteristic of USU is engagement with communities and people in economic development, improvements to quality of life, and human capital. Through the practical application of knowledge, the University and its faculty engage and share expertise with the state, nation, and world, preserving the historical land-grant tradition of partnering with communities to address critical societal issues in the interest of the public good.

The USU main campus is located in beautiful ; a city of about 50,000 situated in a picturesque mountain valley about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. Outstanding recreational opportunities abound in the nearby mountains and proximate region.

Notice of Non-discrimination

In its programs and activities, including in admissions and employment, Utah State University does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy, Title IX, or any other federal, state, or local law.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations and/or USU's non-discrimination policies:

Executive Director of the Office of Equity Alison Adams-Perlac, , Old Main Rm. 161, (phone number removed)

Title IX Coordinator Hilary Renshaw, , Old Main Rm. 161, (phone number removed).

For further information regarding non-discrimination, please visit , or contact:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, (phone number removed),

U.S. Department of Education, Denver Regional Office, (phone number removed),

USU is sensitive to the needs of dual career couples and provides a to support careers for partners who are also seeking employment.
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