Postdoctoral Scholar, Modeling Ecosystem Ecologist

Apply now Job No: 22157
Department: College Forest Resources & Envr Sci
Work Type: Staff - Full Time
Location: Main Campus (Houghton, MI)
Full Time / Part Time: Full Time
Categories: Sciences, Research, Forestry, Ecology

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.  

If you require any auxiliary aids, services, or other accommodations to apply for employment, or for an interview, at Michigan Technological University, please notify the Human Resources office at 906-487-2280 or

Job Description Summary

Michigan Technological University and the Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment (TRACE; are seeking a full-time modeling ecosystem ecologist post-doctoral researcher. The position will involve the development and evaluation of ELM-FATES (the land component of the Dept. of Energy Earth system model E3SM coupled with the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator - FATES) using data from the TRACE site, a climate change experiment taking place in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in eastern Puerto Rico. TRACE is an in-situ field warming experiment that aims to study the effects of climate change and disturbance on tropical forests, particularly effects on carbon and nutrient cycling.  This is a two-year, full-time position through Michigan Tech.

Successful applicants would be joining a diverse team of empirical and modeling ecosystem ecologists, working at the cutting edge of above-and-below-ground resource interactions. Collaboration with TRACE principal investigators and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be essential to the success of this position.

Michigan Tech attracts world-class staff and faculty who enrich the educational experience of smart, motivated, and adventurous students. Applicants who are committed to promoting a sense of belonging and contributing to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment for all are strongly encouraged to apply (

Essential Duties & Responsibilities (other duties may be assigned)

Synthesis and analysis of observational and experimental data, model-data integration, execution and analysis of model simulations to understand tropical ecosystem responses to changing environments, and publication in leading journals.

Employees will apply safety-related knowledge, skills, and practices to everyday work.

Required Education, Certifications, Licensures (minimum requirements)

Ph.D. in ecology, botany, applied mathematics, or related field.

Required Experience (minimum requirements)

• A proven track record of publication in leading peer-reviewed journals
• Experience in model development in a large terrestrial ecosystem model
• Experience with model-data integration

Desirable Education and/or Experience

• Experience in ecological data collation, synthesis, analysis, and management
• Experience working with land surface models such as ELM or CLM
• Experience working with FATES

Required Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities (minimum requirements)

• Programming skills in FORTRAN
• Programming skills in data analysis languages R and/or Python
• Excellent written and oral communication
• Excellent interpersonal skills

Desirable Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities


Language, Mathematics and/or Reasoning Skills


Work Environment and/or Physical Demands


Required Training and Other Conditions of Employment

Every employee at Michigan Technological University will receive the following 4 required pieces of training; additional training may be required by the department.

Required University Training:

  • Employee Safety Overview

  • Anti-Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation Training

  • Annual Data Security Training 

  • Annual Title IX Training


Background Check:

Offers of employment are contingent upon and not considered finalized until the required background check has been performed and the results received and assessed.

Other Conditions of Employment:

The successful applicant will be responsible for ensuring eligibility for employment in the United States on or before the effective date of the appointment. Visa sponsorship is unavailable at this time. This is not an E-Verified Position.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) % (1=100%)


FLSA Status


Appointment Term

12 months



Pay Rate/Salary

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. No less than $47,500.

Title of Position Supervisor


Posting Type

Internal & External Posting

Dependent on Funding


Special Instructions to Applicants (if applicable)

Applicants should submit the following: cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references. In the cover letter, please include a clear statement of purpose, including what topics of scientific inquiry are most interesting and inspiring to you and what makes you uniquely qualified for this position.

Screening of applicants will begin on July 1, 2022, and continue until the position is filled. We are aiming for a September 2022 start date, but this is negotiable. This position has the potential to be filled by a remote employee working in the United States. During the interview process, applicants will be able to discuss specific requirements for remote work in this position.

Additional Information

The is a two-year, full-time position through Michigan Tech. The position is subject to a performance review after six months. Annual compensation begins at $47,500 per year + 40% fringe rate but is commensurate with experience. The postdoc will be based in Houghton, Michigan within the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, within the lab of Dr. Molly Cavaleri.

The postdoc position also includes funding for travel to Oak Ridge National Labs in Oak Ridge, TN for up to one month to enhance ecological modeling expertise and annual trips to Puerto Rico for all-hands meetings of the TRACE team. See for more information about the TRACE project.

Located in Houghton Michigan, in the heart of Upper Michigan’s scenic Keweenaw Peninsula, the university is just a few miles from Lake Superior. The surrounding area is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities throughout the year.

Tech is proud to be an ADVANCE Institution that has thrice received National Science Foundation support to increase diversity, inclusion, and the participation and advancement of women and underrepresented individuals in STEM. (see

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Required Education, Certifications, Licensures* (minimum requirements)

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