Opportunity Type:

The Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia (UVA) invites applicants for a postdoctoral Research Associate position in quantitative population and community ecology. The position is part of a 3-year NSF-funded research project focused on the widespread ecological phenomenon of synchrony, the tendency for populations in distant locations to rise and fall in unison.

Synchrony is a central feature of the population dynamics of myriad species, and is important for diverse connections including conservation, pest and disease management, ecosystem functioning and stability, and resource management. The big questions we are pursuing with this project are: (1) What are the drivers of synchrony and how do they change across scales in space and time? (2) How does synchrony cascade to affect community structure, ecosystem function, and stability? (3) To what extent does synchrony propagate spatially across ecosystem boundaries?

We are using kelp forests and sandy beaches in coastal California as model ecosystems to resolve these pressing questions. The position will focus on analyzing several large-scale, multi-decadal ecological and oceanographic datasets, however there is considerable latitude for exploration of diverse topics within the broad research area. The overall project is a collaboration of remote sensing specialists; marine biologists with deep expertise on coastal systems; and quantitative population and community ecologists who have been at the forefront of statistical methods development for studies of synchrony.

The postdoctoral research associate will join a collaborative team of principal investigators, postdocs, and students at the University of Virginia (Max Castorani, Jonathan Walter); University of Kansas (Dan Reuman, Lawrence Sheppard); University of California, Los Angeles (Kyle Cavanaugh); and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Tom Bell). There is substantial technical support for data analysis and data management. The position is based at UVA in Charlottesville, Virginia, but may begin with a remote work arrangement.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: At the time of appointment, the candidate will hold a Ph.D. in ecology, environmental science, applied statistics, or a related field. Ideal candidates will have interests in population or community ecology and strong quantitative skills, such as data analysis, ecological modeling, or scientific programming. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and a proven capacity to publish original research in peer-reviewed journals are required. A background in marine ecology is not necessary. The Department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community.

TO APPLY: Apply online at https://uva.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/UVAJobs  Include (1) a cover letter describing your motivation, previous relevant experience, and research ideas related to the advertised position; (2) curriculum vitae; and (3) contact information for three individuals who can provide professional reference letters upon request.

Please note that multiple documents can be uploaded in the box.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Review of applications will begin February 20, 2021. The start date is negotiable. The University will perform background checks on all new hires prior to employment.


Initial appointment will be for one year, with anticipated funding for a total of three years, conditional upon performance. UVA offers competitive salary and excellent benefits to its community of more than 300 postdoctoral researchers and scholars.

For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Max Castorani, Assistant Professor, at castorani@virginia.edu.

For questions regarding the application process, contact Rich Haverstrom, Faculty Search Advisor, at rkh6j@virginia.edu.

For more information on the benefits available to postdoctoral associates at UVA, visit postdoc.virginia.edu and hr.virginia.edu/benefits.