Job ID: 129486


Duke University

  • Sep. 19, 2019
  • Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Duke University
    Durham, NC
  • Open Until Filled
  • Available Immediately
  • Post-Doc
  • Natural Sciences
    Environmental Sciences/Ecology/Forestry
    Earth Sciences
    Botany/Plant Sciences
    Biology - General
    Sciences - General

The Poulsen Lab at Duke University is seeking an outstanding postdoc to contribute to a NSF-funded project. The goal of the project is to test the hypothesis that depletion of megafauna, specifically African forest elephants, in tropical forests has cascading effects on remaining fauna and flora, destabilizing forest dynamics.

The research objectives are to:

(1) assess the relationship among trees and the organisms with which they interact over plant life stages, including fungi, insects, and terrestrial mammals;
(2) quantify the degree to which defaunation alters these plant-animal interactions and tree recruitment; and
(3) generate individual based models to simulate population dynamics of elephant-dispersed tree species to compare extinction probability in simulated populations with and without elephants.

​The position will consist of setting up large-scale experiments and data collection in the field Central Africa and analyzing data and writing scientific publications. Approximately one-half of the position will involve working in French-speaking Africa. One-half of the position will consist of data analysis and writing of high impact manuscripts from existing and new datasets. The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to mentor undergraduate and graduate students.
As such, we are looking for candidates with good field skills, strong quantitative, programming, and modeling skills, and a demonstrated ability to write and publish. A basic knowledge of French is helpful, but not necessary.

Minimum Qualifications Required:

  • Candidates must have obtained their PhD in ecology, environmental science, applied statistics or a related field by the appointment start date.
  • Strong statistical and programming skills in R are essential.
  • Demonstrated writing skills, as evidenced by a record of publication, are necessary.
  • Candidates must demonstrate the ability to work well independently and as a part of a team.
  • Ability to work in remote, rainforest conditions (buggy, high humidity, precipitation and temperatures).
  • Ability to walk 6-10 miles in a day carrying a 25 pound backpack.

Additional Qualifications

  • Experience with Bayesian analysis and fitting of maximum likelihood models is preferred.
  • Familiarity with GIS is beneficial.
  • The best-qualified applicants will also have exceptional reasoning and analytical skills, and experience working or ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists.

The appointment is for 2 years, to begin as soon as possible.

To apply for this position:

Please submit a cover letter, C.V., three references (contact info only), and one example of your scientific writing (i.e. journal article) to BOTH and

The cover letter should identify relevant experience and skills, potential start date, interests in relation to the above description, and how this opportunity fits into the applicant’s longer-term goals. The cover letter should also include the names and contact information of up to three people who can provide letters of reference.

We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
    Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas-an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

    Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essential job functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.

    Duke is committed to encouraging and sustaining work and learning environments that are free from harassment and prohibited discrimination. Duke prohibits discrimination and harassment in the administration of both its employment and educational policies. Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Duke also makes good faith efforts to recruit, hire, and promote qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information



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