Postdoctoral Position: Landscape Analysis, Utah State University

Utah State University, in conjunction with the US Geologic Survey, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SRLCC), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeks a post-doctoral research associate focusing on Landscape Analysis.

Position Description: The Research Associate will work as part of a joint Utah State University, SRLCC, and BLM interdisciplinary team assessing the capabilities of landscape-level data and information in resolving regional and local land management issues. The spatial extent of the work is the SRLCC geographic area with initial emphasis on the Colorado Plateau ecoregion. Data for the work has been organized under the BLM’s Colorado Plateau Rapid Ecoregional Assessment, and the SRLCC. The overall task of this work is to assist land management agencies (e.g., state management agencies, BLM, Forest Service) with analysis and application of spatially explicit data sets to their specific resources, landscapes, and management strategies.

General questions being addressed by these cooperating agencies revolve around two major themes: (i) climate change effects on aquatic and terrestrial conservation elements, and (ii) optimization methods for identifying spatial areas with highest restoration potential. Climate-affected conservations elements of concern include, but are not limited to, sagebrush and riparian zones, several plant, and aquatic and terrestrial animal species, and potential movements of invasive species into the Colorado Plateau. Optimization approaches center on identification of watersheds affected by anthropogenic stressors and climate and having greatest restoration potential given desired measures of biodiversity. Considerable latitude exists on which theme candidates would focus on.

All work must be structured to (i) meet a management issue of direct concern; (ii) involve close cooperation with field biologists; (iii) designed to provide a structured decision framework for the management issue; and (iv) result in simple applications (pilot studies) that serve to instruct field managers about the utility of landscape-scale information for land management. No primary data collection will occur; emphasis is solely on extant data and identification of data gaps, although new derived geospatial data is clearly anticipated.

Above all, we are seeking candidates who can approach this topic in an innovative manner, and whose efforts will lead to a series of conceptual and data-based applications and publications. Additional collaborators in this research include representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, and other land management agencies. The position is located in the College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Edwards, U.S. Geological Survey, Utah Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.


  • An earned Ph.D. in Ecology, Geography, or related fields in either aquatic or terrestrial systems. A degree research emphasis in broadly-defined Landscape Ecology is preferred.
  • Knowledge of data management and statistical modelling tools using R.
  • Skill in GIS data manipulations and analyses using ARC and python, including ability to search for, find, and organize extant data structures on ecosystems-level information. Preference given to individuals with skill linking spatial analysis in R to geospatial data structures, and previous use of landscape conservation packages like Marxan.
  • Documented skill in written and oral communication, including but not limited to publications in peer- reviewed journals, and presentations at professional meetings.
  • Experience and interest in working closely with land management agencies.

Salary and Benefits: Position is a fixed, 3-year maximum term appointment. Salary is $57,987 (GS-11/1) per year, and includes a generous benefits package from Utah State University. Annual reappointment is contingent on yearly appropriations.


Application Process: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, with initial review beginning on 14 April 2014. Candidates should submit the following application materials online under Requisition ID=995025:

  • A maximum 2-page letter describing qualifications and experience, highlighting expertise in statistical modelling tools and GIS, and ability to work in a collaborative research environment involving land management agencies.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Names, addresses, phone number, and email of 3 references.

For more information: Contact Thomas C. Edwards, Research Ecologist and Professor; U.S. Geological Survey and Wildland Resources, Utah State University at
Any questions and all documents regarding the position should be sent via email only; phone calls will not be returned.

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