USGS Postdoc – Land transformation and ecosystem service modeling related to energy development and wildfire, Denver, CO

The United States Geological Survey is recruiting a postdoctoral scientist in ecosystem service and geospatial modeling.  The post-doc will play a key role in the project “Probabilistic Integrated Resource Assessment Tool for Ecosystem Services (PIRATES).   This effort will integrate forecasts of land transformation and assessments of other biophysical resources to evaluate the interplay between management, landscape change, and environmental/economic costs and benefits.  It endeavors to address the question of how landscape change impacts a suite of resources and how those impacts may be limited by alternative management activities.  The current focus of the project is the development of energy resources and wildfire as drivers of land transformation.

Funding for the fellowship is for 2 years and is subject to renewal for 2 additional years, pending the availability of funding. Remuneration is US $73,848, plus benefits. The post-doc will work with the following project co-leads at the USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Denver, CO (http://gec.cr.usgs.gov/): Ken Bagstad (Research Economist), Jay Diffendorfer (Research Ecologist), Steve Garman (Research Ecologist), Todd Hawbaker (Research Ecologist), Darius Semmens (Research Physical Scientist).

In addition, strong collaborations exist with geologists and geophysicists working on energy resource assessments and assessments of produced waters, as well as with two postdocs being hired for modeling fire histories and dynamics.

Candidates will support the project by taking lead and collaborative roles in:  1) Developing approaches to link land transformation caused by energy development or wildfire to impact analyses with the ARIES (http://www.ariesonline.org/) modeling platform; 2) Writing computer code to implement the tool; 3) Developing methods and performing analyses to understand and summarize complex geospatial and temporal patterns of ecosystem services;  and 4) Publishing the work as journal articles.  As part of the development, we will investigate the role of energy development and wildfire on ecosystem services in southwest Wyoming, where existing research and geospatial data are extensive (http://www.wlci.gov/). The candidate will have latitude to pursue novel approaches and work with a broad set of researchers across fields of geology, economics, ecology, and biophysical modeling.

Applicants should have demonstrated advanced skills in computer science, biophysical modeling, statistics, ecosystem services, and experience publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Coding expertise in R, Python, Java and/or C++, and strong geospatial expertise are desirable.  Experience modeling ecosystem services with ARIES or other software is not required, though useful.  The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

To apply, please prepare a cover letter, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and contact information for three references. Please send your application via email, subject line PIRATES Post-doc to dsemmens@usgs.gov.  Applicants must have received their doctoral or equivalent graduate degree within the past five years. The degree must be in hand by the selectee’s starting date.

Any questions should be directed to:
Darius Semmens or Jay Diffendorfer
United States Geological Survey
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Denver Federal Center, Bldg 25, MS 980
Denver, CO 80225
dsemmens@usgs.gov, jediffendorfer@usgs.gov