Postdoctoral Fellow (Population Genomics & Restoration)

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America Req #312
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Summary: 

The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) at the Missouri Botanical Garden seeks to hire a full-time postdoctoral scholar to work in the Conservation Genetics Laboratory (PI, Dr. Christy Edwards). The candidate will 1) develop and implement collaborative research project(s) that employ population-genomic techniques to evaluate the effects of restoration techniques on the genetic diversity, genetic structure, and population dynamics of restorations in woodlands, savannahs, and grasslands at MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve and the broader region; 2) train and mentor undergraduate and graduate students; 3) assist MBG scientists with coordinating grant-funded activities including recruitment and mentoring of students, organizing and participating in outreach events and workshops, and presenting lectures to professional organizations and the general public; 4) prepare and submit manuscripts for publication; 5) build relationships with SNR staff and collaborative partners; and 6) actively participate in events with the St. Louis Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation community.

 

MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve contains over 2000 acres of fire-maintained woodlands, grasslands, and glades. Ecological restoration (i.e., selective tree thinning, removal of invasive species, prescribed fire) has been ongoing at SNR over the last 3 decades. The restorations have also involved seeding of native species from local and regional seed sources, and the successful candidate will be expected to work on research projects related to these restored populations of native plants at SNR and other field sites and natural areas in the region. The postdoctoral fellow will be expected to develop a research project involving testing how factors such as seed source or life history characteristics (such as mating system, pollinator, or seed disperser) affect the genetic diversity and population dynamics of restored plant populations. Candidates should have prior experience with field sampling techniques, next-generation DNA sequencing approaches, population genomics lab techniques (i.e., rad-seq, genotyping-by-sequencing), bioinformatics, and statistical analysis of population genomic data. Candidates who are interested in understanding the effects of plant life-history traits or ecological factors on the genetic diversity and structure of plant populations are particularly encouraged to apply. The successful candidates will have opportunities to collaborate with MBG scientists active in conservation genetics, reintroduction biology, restoration ecology, and community ecology. 

 

Candidates with a completed Ph.D. or that will soon graduate with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Botany, Genetics, Restoration Science, Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, or a related field are encouraged to apply.  The ideal start time is before summer 2021, but this is negotiable.  The term for this grant-funded position will be up to 2 years, with renewal in the 2nd year contingent on satisfactory performance.  Salary will be commensurate with experience, and this position includes a comprehensive benefits package.

 

The position will be based in St. Louis, where a vibrant community of ecologists, conservation practitioners, and evolutionary biologists interact through partnerships among MBG, Washington University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Saint Louis University, plus other area institutions. The position will be seated in the CCSD, which explores and implements new, science-based approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity. CCSD’s strategies for conservation are based on a sound, scientific understanding of the occurrence and distribution of plants. CCSD applies the knowledge of plant diversity accumulated by Missouri Botanical Garden researchers over many years, making that knowledge usable for conservation planning and decision-making. Operating under the auspices of the Garden and as part of its division of Science and Conservation, CCSD builds upon the Garden’s institutional expertise, scientific programs, influence, and resources.

 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Takes a leadership role in developing and implementing research on the population genomics of restored plant populations at MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve and other field sites and natural areas in the St. Louis region.
  • Conducts independent research, including experimental design, field sampling, genomic library preparation, and data analysis, and writes results for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Works with the CCSD team in ongoing research projects.
  • Participates in scientific meetings and delivers lectures to professional organizations and the general public as requested.
  • Attracts new scientific collaborators and develops partnerships with organizations.
  • Collaborates with staff in other relevant divisions of MBG to support complementary restoration activities, including (but not limited to) Shaw Nature Reserve and Education.
  • Works within MBG established guidelines in preparing and monitoring grant proposal budgets.
  • Mentors and supervises students, interns, and volunteers working with a team of scientists.
  • Reviews scientific papers and grant proposals as requested.
  • May participate in the hiring and selection process of employees and volunteers.
  • Demonstrates the highest level of professional and ethical conduct.
  • Adherence to all health and safety guidelines.
  • Behave & communicate in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork, cooperation, and respect within our division and throughout the Garden with all employees, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors, and others.

Competencies:

  • Communication: Combines listening skills, verbal and written communication skills, and visitor relation skills.
  • Collaboration: Incorporates teamwork, mutual respect, active engagement, cooperation, and visitor focus.
  • Accountability: Initiative to take ownership of responsibilities, the ability to prioritize, and the working knowledge and skills to take action.
  • Problem Solving: Blends problem-solving skills, judgment, and decision-making skills along with creativity and resourcefulness.
  • Stewardship:  Merges the practical application of the Garden values and supports for a positive organizational climate.        

Qualifications/Experience:

  • Strong background including a minimum of (2) year’s prior experience or coursework in one or more of the following fields: population genetics, evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, genomics, botany, restoration ecology, and conservation science.
  • Demonstrated ability to generate and analyze next-generation DNA sequencing data.
  • Prior experience writing scientific papers, grant proposals, and reports.
  • Interest in Midwestern native plant communities and natural history.
  • Experience and deep skillset in experimental design and implementation, statistical analyses, synthesizing, interpreting, and communicating scientific information.        
  • Willingness and flexibility to conduct fieldwork.
  • Strong understanding of financial budget development/management and forecasting process to effectively manage grant’s budget.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; professional, speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; is tactful and treats others with respect.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively at all levels; working with diverse teams including international colleagues required.
  • Ability to travel (local/domestic) as needed, including occasional overnight travel.
  • The requirements and duties listed above are representative and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.
  • An equivalent combination of skills, education, and experience may be considered.

Education:

  • Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology, botany, population genetics, restoration science, conservation science, or related discipline required.

Computer Skills: Proficient with Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and programs required to conduct population genomic data analysis.

 

Other Skills and Abilities:  Exceptional public speaking skills required.

 

Language Skills:  Ability to communicate effectively in English (oral/written).  Fluency in Spanish and/or French a plus.

 

Mathematical Skills: Proficient college math aptitude-ability to work with statistics.

 

Reasoning Ability:  Requires ability to conduct independent research and to actively participate in teamwork; apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to problem resolution; represent the interests and projects a positive image of the Missouri Botanical Garden

 

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations: 

  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a valid driver’s license.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a passport for international travel.
  • Must be able to obtain visas, vaccinations, and immunizations for all countries where travel is required.

Physical Demands:

  • Ability to lift 35 lbs. and over.
  • Manual dexterity to use a computer keyboard to accurately communicate, write, and managing research data.
  • Ability to walk, stand, kneel, or climb as required and move about for extended periods.
  • Physical fitness is necessary for field studies in difficult terrain.
  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights and high altitudes.
  • Ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment, as needed.

Work Environment:

  • Office and laboratory environment in St. Louis
  • Work outdoors in temperatures of (100°F or more), humid conditions, as well as temperatures below 0°F, in the rain, snow, and other inclement weather conditions and some uncomfortable conditions (i.e. wet, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, etc.) as needed.

Contacts with Individuals/Organizations inside/outside the Garden:  Employees, Volunteers, Collaborators, Guests, International Scientists and Counterparts, Professional Organizations, Governmental Officials, and Colleges/Universities.

 

No. and Titles of Direct Reports:  N/A

  

Supervisory Responsibilities: This position will lead and direct the work activity of undergraduate and graduate students, interns, and fellows. This position will lead and direct volunteers and may participate on selection committees regarding other employees.

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America