Postdoctoral Researcher in Quantitative Ecology and Modeling

Lisle, Illinois
Aug 08, 2018
Oct 07, 2018
Organization Type
Non-Profit and Associations

Postdoctoral Researcher in Quantitative Ecology and Modeling

The Morton Arboretum invites applications for a two year postdoctoral researcher to work on an NSF-supported Advances in Biological Informatics project, “Quantifying biogeographic history: a novel model-based approach to integrating data from genes, fossils, specimens, and environments” (described here). The successful applicant will join an international team of researchers working in mathematics/ statistics, ecology, biogeography, distribution modeling, and population genetics. The postdoctoral researcher will collaborate with the project team to design, develop and implement novel methods for integrating datasets which have different characteristics and resolution (environmental, paleoecological, and genetic data) to make inference about shifts in species ranges and population sizes throughout the past 21,000 years (since the last Ice Age).

Applicants should have a Ph.D. (or Ph.D. defense scheduled in very near future) in the quantitative sciences (i.e., mathematical biology, statistics, theoretical ecology, or related fields), or in an ecological field plus experience with ecological modelling, species distribution or population modelling, or quantitative ecology. Interest or experience in Bayesian statistics, spatial modeling, state-space modeling, or data-driven modeling is beneficial but not required. Some experience in computer programming is beneficial.  Other desired qualifications include a strong work ethic, problem-solving and time

management skills, and experience communicating scientific results (oral and written). Applicants should be interested in working at the interface of statistics and ecology, and interested in contributing to a growing open-source project.

In addition to the main goal of model development, the postdoctoral researcher will be provided mentoring and opportunities for professional development, depending on their interests, including attending international scientific meetings, and mentoring in code development and scientific ethics.  Other opportunities could include involvement in outreach (e.g., curriculum development, workshop implementation), supervising undergraduate researchers, guest lectures, networking, and participation in workshops and short courses (internally and externally).  The postdoctoral researcher will have freedom to identify and attend relevant scientific meetings and professional development opportunities, for which funding will be provided.

The position is funded for two years, with possibility for continuing support pending future funding success.  The postdoctoral researcher will be based at The Morton Arboretum and will primarily work with Dr. Sean Hoban, Dr. Andria Dawson (Mount Royal University, Calgary), and Dr. Adam Smith (Missouri Botanical Garden).  The position will require some travel to work with collaborators at Mount Royal University and the Missouri Botanical Garden, as well as attend team meetings and workshops. All travel costs are covered by grant funds.  

The Morton Arboretum is a world-class plant science research institute and public botanic garden near Chicago, USA, with research strengths in ecology, conservation, and genomics.  The Morton Arboretum has ongoing collaborations with scientists at the Field Museum, University of Illinois Chicago, two National Laboratories, the Brookfield Zoo, and Chicago Botanic Garden.  

Application materials must include four documents concatenated into two PDFs as follows:

One document to include:

  • 1-2 page cover letter describing your qualifications and your interest in the project (project is described here)
  • evidence of scientific outputs (e.g. writing samples such as publications, dissertation, unpublished manuscripts, technical reports)
  • names and contact information for three references

Second document to include:

  • CV/Resume

Applications may be submitted until the position is filled, with applications received by October 15 to be guaranteed full consideration.  A start date in winter 2018/2019 is preferred. Applicants must apply through The Morton Arboretum job system, at For inquiries, please contact Dr. Sean Hoban (, Dr. Adam Smith (, or Dr. Andria Dawson (

The Morton Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer committed to achieving a diverse workforce.