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Spatial Ecologist Postdoctoral Associate

Virginia Tech
Virginia, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Dec 21, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Health & Medicine, Other Health & Medicine, Professional Fields, Other Professional Fields, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Agriculture & Animal Sciences, Other Science & Technology
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Description

The USGS Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech invites applications for a postdoctoral associate position to work with Dr. Elizabeth Hunter ( The researcher will focus on two projects related to spatial ecology, simulation modeling, and the development of R packages for use in wildlife and habitat management. The first project (1 year duration) is funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in collaboration with The Jones Center (Dr. Lora Smith) and involves development of line transect distance sampling (LTDS) monitoring methods for translocated gopher tortoise populations at recipient sites. The postdoctoral associate will develop i) simulation scenarios that represent the range of likely conditions at recipient sites (e.g., size, shape, and habitat condition of sites) and LTDS scenarios (e.g., number of observers, placement of transects), ii) a flexible analysis framework for estimating tortoise population density that accounts for recipient site idiosyncracies, iii) a standard operating procedure for LTDS surveys on recipient sites, iv) a user-friendly annotated R script or package for future data analysis by state biologists or authorized agents, and v) development of a training workshop on all project materials. The second project (0.5 year duration) is funded by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. and involves developing an R package for spatially explicit, multi-objective optimization of timber harvest scheduling that could be applied to the management of at-risk species (e.g., gopher tortoises) and other environmental objectives in working forest landscapes. This project would build on existing software (Habplan, written in Java) and add functionality, including optimization for landscape configuration and multi-species management.

A postdoctoral associate is sought to work on both projects as they have overlapping requirements of skills and expertise in spatial programming in R. The position can be primarily remote, although occasional travel may be required to meet with partners.

Required Qualifications

- PhD in natural resources, fish and wildlife management, ecology, forestry or related field. PhD must be awarded no more than four years prior to the effective date of appointment with a minimum of one year eligibility remaining.
- Demonstrated experience in R programming, including developing novel R scripts in association with peer-review publications.
- Demonstrated experience in spatial modeling using R.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Preferred Qualifications

- Ability to work with managers to iteratively and collaboratively develop models or software. - Experience analyzing wildlife population data accounting for imperfect detection (e.g., distance models, occupancy models), preferably in a Bayesian framework.
- Experience with simulation modeling and/or multi-objective optimization.

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Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges , a school of medicine , a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School , and Honors College . The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers . A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Dana Keith at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Advertised: December 21, 2021
Applications close:

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