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Postdoctoral Research Scholar - Richardson's SPRUCE Experiment

Northern Arizona University
Arizona, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Jun 22, 2022

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Other Science & Technology
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Postdoctoral Research Scholar - Richardson's SPRUCE Experiment

Location: Ecosystem Science & Soc Center
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Job ID: 606415
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.

Special Information

Interested applicants should submit a CV, the names of 3-5 professional references, and a cover letter that describes research interests and previous research experience and addresses desired skills and preferred qualifications. Applications must be submitted through NAU's online HR portal,

This position is supported by external funding, and thus specific tasks and duties must be completed, on schedule, by the postdoctoral scholar. A 12-month commitment is expected. Funding is potentially available for up to three years, pending satisfactory performance. Inquiries should be directed to Professor Andrew Richardson (

This position is subject to the availability of funding. The incumbent is not eligible for Service Professional non-renewal notice, or Classified Staff layoff or recall status.

Job Description

Position summary:

The Richardson Lab at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, AZ, is seeking a postdoctoral research associate to conduct modeling and analysis of phenological data from the SPRUCE experiment ( run by DOE's Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) in northern Minnesota. The postdoc will primarily work with PhenoCam ( data from the site, supplemented with ground observations collected by SPRUCE technicians. Analyses will focus on the role of elevated temperature and CO2 treatments on spring and autumn phenology of common boreal peatland tree and shrub species.

Applicants must be willing to work collaboratively on team projects. The Richardson lab is based in the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss) and the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS). The postdoc will interact regularly with SPRUCE collaborators at ORNL and the USDA Forest Service. The postdoc will be based in Flagstaff; occasional travel to the field site in Minnesota may be necessary. The start date is negotiable, but September 1, 2022 is preferred.

Examples of duties and responsibilities:
  • Curates PhenoCam imagery and data products from the SPRUCE experiment
  • Develops, parameterizes and tests new phenological models using PhenoCam and ground observations
  • Works with ORNL personnel to ensure SPRUCE PhenoCam data quality and continuity
  • Processes ground observations (made on a weekly basis by ORNL personnel) of vegetative and reproductive phenology to phenological transition dates (e.g., dates of “flowering”, “budburst” and “leaf drop”)
  • Participates in monthly SPRUCE telecons and the annual all-hands meeting, and contribute phenological expertise, as required, to other SPRUCE research projects
  • Communicates and collaborates with project team members at other institutions and agencies
  • Leads the preparation of papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • Presents research results at workshops, project meetings, and international conferences (e.g., AGU, ESA)

Essential Functions:

Research & Publications - 95%
  • Works on developing a solid foundation of research knowledge, experimental skills, and scientific based communication.
  • Designs and performs complex research projects.
  • Reviews literature and identifies appropriate experimental approaches and areas of research.
  • Generates, analyzes, and interprets research data in a manner reflecting a deep understanding of the area of research.
  • Keeps detailed records of data, and analyses.
  • Presents project results to internal and external parties at regular meetings, seminars, and conferences.
  • Liaisons with other departments, outside collaborators, and others to ensure success of project(s).
  • Writes for technical publications and reports including peer-reviewed journal articles.

Other - 5%
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in Ecology, Ecological modeling, Biometeorology, Plant physiology, Geography, Remote sensing, Earth system science, or a related STEM field
  • Demonstrated expertise with modeling and quantitative analysis in R
  • A record of publishing peer-reviewed research in top scientific journals

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with modeling and analysis of phenological data
  • Coursework and/or research experience in physiological ecology, plant ecology, global change biology, and/or ecosystem ecology
  • Strong background in modeling and statistics, including Bayesian and Monte Carlo techniques, parameter estimation, data assimilation, and related methods
  • Experience with image processing (satellite or PhenoCam-type imagery)
  • Experience working with and manipulating large data sets

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
  • Excellent quantitative and analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills, as demonstrated by publications and presentations at professional meetings
  • Excellent organizational and project management 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.

Immigration Suppt/Sponsorship

NAU will not provide any U.S. immigration support or sponsorship for this position.

Application Deadline

Open until further notice

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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