lunes, mayo 30, 2016

Phytoliths and Grass Evolution Project Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Washington

The University of Washington (Seattle, WA) invites applications for a postdoctoral Research Associate (Job Class 0148; not a tenure track position). The position has a 12-month term, with the possibility of extending up to one more year. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr. Caroline A.E. Strömberg, the Estella B. Leopold Associate Professor in Biology and Curator of Paleobotany, on the multi-disciplinary Grass Evolution Project. The position is 100% FTE for 12 months and will be 90% research, 5% curation, 5% fieldwork (allocation is negotiable), and offers a competitive salary plus benefits. Review of applications will begin June 1, 2016, and the position can begin as soon after that as a successful applicant is identified, with an anticipated start date of July 2016 (negotiable).

Project description:

Goals: (I) to enhance the use of phytoliths for robust taxonomic and ecological interpretations through mapping of grass phytolith morphology in a phylogenetic framework, coupled with mapping of other, functionally relevant traits and environmental preferences; (II) to use this “key” to fossil grass systematics and ecology to tackle one of two outstanding questions in grass evolution: (1) When and in what environments did grasses originate and diversify?; and (2) What drove the ecological expansion of grasses with C4 photosynthesis?

The research under goal I involves phytolith analysis (extraction, identification, counting and description) of modern grass material, morphometrics of phytoliths, statistical analysis, and phylogenetic comparative analysis. Research under goal II additionally involves paleontological fieldwork and phytolith analysis of fossil assemblages.


1) In collaboration with Dr. Strömberg, the candidate will carry out research to accomplish goal I in the project description above (phylogenetic key to grass phytolith morphology), and focus on either question 1 or 2 under goal II (fossil application). In consultation with Dr. Strömberg, the candidate will be encouraged to develop his/her own research questions within the broad topics covered by the grant.

2) In collaboration with Dr. Strömberg and Burke Museum staff, the candidate will lead and manage personnel efforts to prepare, curate, and catalog modern and fossil phytolith samples.

3) Collaborative research, discussion, and presentation of research results in partnership with Dr. Strömberg and other collaborators are expected. Funds for research expenses and travel are available. Start date is negotiable within limits, by arrangement with Dr. Strömberg.

Minimum/Basic Qualification Required:
Required degree: a U.S. Ph.D. or foreign equivalent. By the start date, all elements of the Ph.D., including the dissertation, must be completed and the degree conferred in the biological, earth sciences, archaeological, or similar field, with an emphasis on specimen-based botanical, paleobotanical, archaeobotanical, microfossil-related, or other (paleo)biological questions.

Additional Required Qualifications:
· Ph.D. must be conferred less than six years prior to start date

· Research interests that are appropriate for key aspects of the Grass Evolution project (e.g., geometric morphometrics, phylogenetics, phytoliths)

· Demonstrated experience managing personnel

· Demonstrated ability to publish in English-language peer-reviewed journals

· Demonstrated familiarity with statistical analysis

Additional Preferred Qualifications:

· Demonstrated expertise in phytolith analysis

· Demonstrated familiarity with geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic (comparative) analysis

· Demonstrated curatorial experience

Successful candidates will be able to complete the following:
(1) develop new data sets and methods for their study; (2) present results at scientific meetings; (3) involve undergraduates and contribute to outreach components (e.g., Burke Museum blogs, exhibits, Girls in Science afterschool program).

To apply:

Please submit (1) a cover letter (including contact information for three references), (2) curriculum vitae, (3) a brief statement of previous research experience, addressing the requirements for the Grass Evolution project (2-page limit), all in a single PDF file to Applications must be received by June 15th, 2016.

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