Opportunity Type:

The Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) is seeking a postdoctoral scientist with expertise in the aquatic sciences for a two-year position at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  A successful candidate for this position should have experience in aquatic biology and/or community ecology, preferably with a background in montane or alpine environments.

The Niwot Ridge LTER is home to one of the longest observational records of alpine ecology in the world. The aquatic science record includes phytoplankton and zooplankton composition, lake and stream primary production, surrounding snow depth and ice-cover, stream and lake water chemistry, as well as many concurrent terrestrial observations. Recently, the LTER has added an array of automated sensors to measure key biophysical factors in an instrumented catchment and increased sensor-based lake measures, and are intent using these tools to better understand aquatic ecosystems.

The LTER is developing experimental techniques to effectively test how aquatic communities change in response to climate shift scenarios. The successful candidate will thus have a valuable opportunity to develop and test hypotheses synthesizing and/or build from existing datasets, working alongside a multi-disciplinary team of researchers to design and implement additional field studies, and writing integrative and innovative manuscripts.

Who We Are

As the University’s oldest institute, lNSTAAR (Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research) has a long history of responding to pressing environmental issues.  Our traditional focus has been on polar and alpine regions, where effects of global change are especially pronounced.  In recent decades, our research has broadened to include environmental challenges that span local, regional, and global scales.  Research topics vary widely and include Quaternary and modern environments, human and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape evolution, hydrology, oceanography, and climate.

INSTAAR’s research activities integrate field studies, state-of-the-art laboratory experiments, sample analysis, and numerical and laboratory modeling.  Our field sites are located across all seven continents and the world’s oceans.  Our expertise across disciplines helps us generate influential science that can inform public and policy decisions and move us toward a more sustainable society.  INSTAAR’s national and international research leadership is augmented by exceptional strength in graduate education and bringing undergraduates into the research process.

Key Responsibilities

This position offers a unique opportunity to integrate long-term field data, experimental manipulations, and advanced analytical techniques to understand how mountain lake ecosystems and their biological communities – including interactions between zooplankton and phytoplankton – are responding to environmental changes in climate, nitrogen deposition, and disturbance.


  • Ph.D. in a field related to the aquatic sciences.
  • Experience in analyzing complex ecological problems.

Additional Qualifications

  • Advanced quantitative skills in ecological analyses.
    Demonstrated experience in developing scientific publications from complex ecological problems.
    Ability to work both independently and as part of a collaborative, interdisciplinary scientific team.

Additional Information

  • The applicant will work in residence at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).
  •  Salary will start at $52,000.00 annually.
  • The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

To Apply

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  • Resume/CV
  • Cover Letter

During the application process, you will need to submit contact information for 1 reference for this position and then we will request a confidential letter of recommendation from them.
Review of applications will begin on December 31 and continue until the position is filled. The target start date is Spring 2019.  Any questions can be directed to Dr. Pieter Johnson (pieter.johnson@colorado.edu).