Research Associate in Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences
Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
United States

Research Associate-Fixed Term

Apply now Job no: 653994
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Agriculture And Nat Resources
Department: Plant Soil And Microbial Sciences 40000781
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Fixed Term Academic Staff, Agriculture, Research/Scientific, Non-Union

Working/Functional Title

Research Associate: Post-Fire Forest Resilience

Position Summary

The Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU), in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service Northern & Pacific Southwest Research Stations, is seeking a highly motivated postdoc for a project investigating forest resilience and carbon recovery after fire in California’s mixed-conifer forests. The postdoc will be co-advised by Dr. Jessica Miesel (MSU) and Drs. Matt Dickinson and Eric Knapp (Forest Service). The researcher will conduct data analysis on existing and new datasets and lead re-measurement of a unique sample of field plots in California mixed-conifer forests where pre-, active-, and immediate post-wildfire measurements were collected.  Re-measurement will capture delayed tree mortality resulting from wildfires of different intensities and will provide the basis for modeling vegetation dynamics to 1) define the influence of pre-fire fuels and environmental factors on fire behavior and forest carbon loss; (2) define thresholds of forest resilience, and (3) evaluate the recovery of forest vegetation and carbon stocks. The researcher will be expected to develop high-impact publications that address the project goals, and contribute to mentoring graduate and undergraduate students. The position will begin as a one-year appointment, with extension available for an additional year depending on satisfactory performance.

Required Degree

Doctorate -Forest Ecology, environmental science, or related field 

Minimum Requirements

The successful candidate will have: an earned PhD in forest ecology or related field by the position start date; demonstrated skill in statistical analysis; excellent writing skills as evidenced by a record of peer-reviewed publications; the ability to work well independently and collaboratively; demonstrated ability to successfully initiate, manage, and complete quality projects.

Desired Qualifications

Preference will be given to candidates with experience in leading field measurement campaigns in remote areas, modeling forest vegetation and carbon dynamics, and a background in fire ecology.

Required Application Materials

A single PDF containing: 1) a letter of interest detailing qualifications for the position and research interests, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) a list of 3 professional references with contact information (institution, email address, phone number), and 4) three samples of professional writing.

Special Instructions

Apply online at to position number 653994. Upload the following required documents as a single PDF: 1) a letter of interest detailing qualifications for the position and research interests, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) a list of 3 professional references with contact information (institution, email address, phone number), and 4) three samples of professional writing. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Review of applications will begin 22 June 2020. Desired start date is between 17 August to 01 September 2020 but flexibility may be possible and requests should be indicated in the application cover letter. Questions about the position should be directed to Dr. Miesel at

Review of Applications Begins On



MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Advertised: Jun 10, 2020 Eastern Daylight Time

Applications close: Jun 9, 2022 Eastern Daylight Time

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