Postdoctoral opportunity

Postdoctoral Position in Microbial Disturbance Ecology

A UK-US NSF-NERC joint-funded postdoctoral position is available to study the interplay between diversity, disturbance and invasion, using experimental microcosms to illuminate ecological theory. Invasion by alien species represents a major threat to the maintenance of the world`s biodiversity. Biological invasions also have significant economic and environmental impacts on agriculture, epidemiology and conservation.  Unfortunately, our current understanding of the processes involved, and hence our ability to manage disturbed systems, is hampered by the large number of interacting factors that can affect invasion. This project will examine how biological diversity and environmental perturbations interact to affect invasion, using a mix of experiments and theoretical research.  The project will focus on experimental populations of microbes, combined with a related modeling agenda, to study: 1) the effect of independent, and combined, manipulation of disturbance and diversity on invasion success; and 2) the role of pre-adaptation to disturbance regimes in mediating invasion resistance. The postdoc will additionally assess the hypothesized importance of pre-adaptation to disturbance regimes by assessing invasion success following changes to previously established regimes. The project will involve successive iterations between these large bacterial community experiments and system-specific and general theory. Research will be based in the laboratory of Dr. Katriona Shea ( in the Department of Biology at The Pennsylvania State University, USA, with experimental work conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Angus Buckling ( at the University of Exeter Cornwall campus, UK.  Please contact Katriona Shea (; +1 814-321-4809) for more information. We seek a postdoctoral researcher who has expertise in ecological/evolutionary modeling with a clear interest in applications to community ecology and a strong desire to integrate theory with empirical research.  A Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecology, Population Biology, Applied Mathematics or an equivalent area is required.  Expertise in theory for microbial systems dynamics, using stochastic analytical and/or simulation population models, and empirical expertise in such systems, is highly desirable. Candidates should demonstrate a track record of publication; have strong organizational, written, and oral communication skills; and be able to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team. Interested applicants should apply online at with an application, a CV, a 1-2 page statement of research interests that explicitly describes professional qualifications for this position, and contact information for three referees. This is a fixed-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with possibility of re-funding.  Review of applications will immediately and continue until a suitable candidate is found.

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