Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ecological Statistics

Job Description

A postdoctoral fellowship in ecological statistics applied to paleoecological problems is available at the University of Notre Dame. The position is part of PalEON, a PaleoEcological Observatory Network to Assess Terrestrial Ecosystem Models, and is part of Notre Dame's Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI). PalEON is an initiative to statistically estimate changes in forest composition in the northeastern U.S. over the past 2000 years using paleoecological data and to assimilate these estimates into ecosystem models. The fellow will lead the implementation of statistical models, based on spatial statistics and Bayesian hierarchical spatio-temporal modeling methods, for the initiative, interacting with statisticians, paleoecologists, paleoclimatologists, and ecosystem modelers. The postdoctoral fellow will be supervised by Dr. Jason McLachlan at Notre Dame and Dr. Chris Paciorek at UC Berkeley, with extensive interaction with other PalEON team members. Specific modeling challenges include spatio-temporal modeling of paleoecological data, modeling uncertainty in radiocarbon dating, and spatial modeling of vegetation based on colonial settlement-era historical records.

PalEON is an interdisciplinary research group of paleoecologists, statisticians, and ecosystem modelers working together to study how climate variations shape forest dynamics across a range of timescales. Specific goals include developing a coherent inferential framework with rigorous estimates of uncertainty for paleoecological data, applying these
techniques to reconstruct variations in forested ecosystems for the last 2000 years from the Great Lakes to New England, and then assimilating the results into a suite of regional-scale ecosystem models. Postdoctoral researchers will work closely with each other and other members of the PalEON team towards these goals. Further details about PalEON may be found


Applicants should have a PhD in statistics, ecology, or a related field, with a strong quantitative background. Competitive applicants will possess a background in Bayesian statistical modeling, especially spatial/spatio-temporal modeling, state space modeling, or data assimilation.

To Apply

This is a two-year position, appointed annually with successful review. We will consider applications on a rolling basis, but initial review will start April 23, 2012. The position will start summer 2012, with early fall also possible. Please email your CV and a cover letter with the names and contact information of three references to Jill Deines (
Inquiries can be directed to Jason McLachlan ( or Chris Paciorek ( The University of Notre Dame, an equal opportunity employer with a strong institutional and academic commitment to diversity, endeavors to foster a vibrant learning community animated by the Catholic intellectual tradition.

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