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Postdoctoral Scholar - Northern Ecosystem Ecology

Northern Arizona University
Arizona, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Apr 5, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Academic Affairs, Research Administration
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Postdoctoral Scholar - Northern Ecosystem Ecology

Location: Ecosystem Science & Soc Center
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Job ID: 606009
Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Workplace Culture

NAU is a community devoted to student success and sustained by an unshakable commitment to our shared mission, vision, and values. We—faculty, staff, and administrators—thrive by combining our efforts and working side by side to further NAU's culture of excellence.

Job Description

The Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss) at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is seeking applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar position in northern ecosystem ecology. This position will work on a recently funded National Science Foundation research project to investigate how increasing wildfire severity and frequency will change carbon storage in northern boreal and tundra ecosystems. The successful candidate will work with NAU scientists in Ecoss and collaborating scientists at Woodwell Climate Research Center to complete fieldwork in remote areas of Alaska, conduct laboratory work and data analyses, lead international synthesis activities, and prepare and submit manuscripts for publication. The position will be based in Flagstaff, AZ and the expected start date is Fall 2022.

Project Description:

The research project will assess where and how rapidly Arctic ecosystems are shifting from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source via increasing wildfires and the combustion of organic soil carbon. The successful candidate will use extensive field measurements, radiocarbon dating of soils, and dendrochronology to develop a mechanistic understanding of the interactions between fire severity, stand age at the time of fire, and soil drainage on soil carbon combustion. The candidate we also work to determine if our understanding of these controls is applicable across a wide range of burned boreal and tundra study systems throughout the circumpolar region through synthesis activities with international research groups.

Primary mentor: Dr. Xanthe Walker (

Essential Functions

Research & Publications - 75%
  • Work collaboratively with research team to collect data and design analyses to address primary research questions.
  • Conduct independent fieldwork and data collection as needed and keep appropriate records of all research activities.
  • Lead data analysis, modeling, coding, and synthesis efforts
  • Design and implement research protocols and adapt new procedures, methods, coding, or instrumentation as appropriate to the project goals.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations of research findings.
  • Prepare and submit manuscripts for publication.
  • Read scientific literature, participate in scientific discussions with other members of the research team and lab, and attend mandatory lab and project meetings.
  • Other administrative and research tasks related to the project, including organizing project meetings and training others in project protocols.

Data Metrics - 15%
  • Collect, curate, synthesize, and analyze research data
  • Maintain organized, open, and accessible records of data and computer code.
  • Perform data analysis and visualization and develop efficient data analysis pipelines and/or tools as appropriate to project goals.
  • Tabulate and display data for presentation in research conferences and for manuscript preparation; use graphics and statistical software to analyze and present data.

Grant & Management - 5%
  • Works within the grant-specific project requirements.
  • Assists project PIs with managing grant funds according to sponsor specifications.

Academic/Lab Liaison - 5%
  • Perform assigned lab duties to assist in the maintenance of equipment, supplies, reagents or the general operation of the lab, and various other duties or projects as assigned - as appropriate to project goals.
  • Promote an inclusive and welcoming work environment for all.

Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in Ecology, Biology, Biogeochemistry, or appropriate subject discipline.
  • Record of publishing peer-reviewed research in scientific journals.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience designing, conducting, and supervising fieldwork.
  • Experience completing and overseeing laboratory work related to processing soils and plants for biogeochemical analyses.
  • Demonstrated expertise with quantitative statistical analyses in R or other programming languages.
  • Coursework and/or research experience in ecology, biogeochemistry, soil science, forestry, and/or ecosystem ecology.
  • Interest and/or experience promoting STEM diversity and inclusion.
  • Experience organizing workshops and meetings (virtual/in-person).

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a research team and with individuals from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to take initiative and complete tasks without direct supervision.
  • Innovation, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.
  • Excellent quantitative and analytical skills.
  • Excellent communication skills, as demonstrated by publications and presentations at professional meetings.
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

As of 12/10/21, the Safer Federal Workforce employee vaccination requirement is currently suspended pending the outcome of a federal court-issued injunction. This injunction has suspended the recent executive order issued by President Biden requiring all employees of federal contractors to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. For current status of the vaccine requirement and/or questions, please visit FAQs for Employee Vaccination Requirement.

Background Information

Northern Arizona University requires satisfactory results for the following: a criminal background investigation, an employment history verification and a degree verification (in some cases) prior to employment. You may also be required to complete a fingerprint background check. Additionally, as an employer in the state of Arizona, NAU is required to participate in the federal E-Verify program that assists employers with verifying new employees' right to work in the United States. Finally, each year Northern Arizona University releases an Annual Security Report. The report is a result of a federal law known as the Clery Act. The report includes Clery reportable crime statistics for the three most recent completed calendar years and discloses procedures, practices and programs NAU uses to keep students and employees safe including how to report crimes or other emergencies occurring on campus. In addition, the Fire Safety Report is combined with the Annual Security Report for the NAU Flagstaff Mountain Campus as this campus has on-campus student housing. This report discloses fire safety policies and procedures related to on-campus student housing and statistics for fires that occurred in those facilities. If you would like a free paper copy of the report, please contact the NAUPD Records Department at (928) 523-8884 or by visiting the department at 525 E. Pine Knoll Drive in Flagstaff.


Salary range begins at $54,779. Annual salary commensurate with candidate's qualifications and related experience.

FLSA Status

This position is exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore will not earn overtime or compensatory time for additional time worked.


Post-Doctoral Scholars are hired on a contract basis, renewable each fiscal year for a maximum of 4 renewals (5 years) according to terms of the Arizona Board of Regents' Conditions of Post-Doctoral Service. NAU offers an excellent benefit package to Post-Doctoral Scholars including generous health, dental and vision insurance; 10 days of vacation and 10 holidays per year; and tuition reduction for employees and qualified family members. New employees are eligible for benefits on the first day of the pay period following their enrollment, after their employment date. Employees will have 31 days from their start date to enroll in benefits. Participation in NAU retirement plans is not available to Post-Doctoral Scholars. More information on benefits at NAU is available at the NAU HR benefits page.

Learning and Development

Your career at Northern Arizona University includes the opportunity for professional development. New employee on-boarding training includes courses to be completed within the first 30 days. If your position includes the supervision of a benefit-eligible employee, we offer the NAU Supervisors Academy for you to complete within your first 2 years.

Application Deadline

Applications received by April 30, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. will be given full consideration. Applications received after that date may be considered until the position is filled.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please click on the "Apply" button on this page. You must submit your application by clicking on the "Submit" button by midnight of the application deadline. If you need assistance completing your application there are instructions available on the Human Resources website or in person in the Human Resources Department located in Building 91 on the NAU Campus - on the corner of Beaver and DuPont Streets.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodation to participate in the hiring process please contact the Office of Equity and Access at: 928-523-3312/TDD - 928-523-1006 or PO Box 4083, Flagstaff AZ 86011.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

EEO is the Law Poster and Supplements

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.

To apply, visit

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