An NSF-funded postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Schaeffer (Department of Biology, Utah State University). Field work in support of the project will be conducted at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (Gothic, Colorado) in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Irwin (Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University).
This project will explore if and how microbes affect cooperation vs. conflict in species interactions using animal pollination of plants and the microbes that reside in floral nectar as a model system. The project will use a combination of field experiments and controlled behavioral observations among a community of wildflowers, floral visitors, and their microbes in the Rocky Mountains.
The main goals are to characterize (1) drivers of nectar microbial community structure; (2) how nectar microbes influence floral phenotypes and behaviors displayed by floral visitors; and (3) how microbes and visitor behaviors affect plant reproduction. The anticipated start date for this position is 4/1/23; however, the official start is negotiable.
Responsibilities include characterizing plant-microbe-pollinator interactions; chemical analyses of flowers and microbes; culture-dependent and -independent characterization of microbial diversity and function (e.g., amplicon sequencing); statistical analyses; and preparation of manuscripts for publication. There is also ample opportunity to design and implement additional projects of mutual interest.
- Ph.D. in animal behavior, biology, ecology or some other related discipline
- Experience with the collection and analysis of volatile organic compounds (e.g., GC/MS)
- Experience with behavioral assays
- Strong interest in chemical, microbial, and pollination ecology
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
Along with the online application, please attach:
- Resume to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Resume/CV”
- Contact Information for Professional Reference
- Cover Letter to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Documents 1-10”
**Document size may not exceed 10 MB.**
Minimum $50,000 commensurate with experience plus excellent benefits
Employees work indoors and are protected from weather and/or contaminants, but not, necessarily, occasional temperature changes. The employee is regularly required to sit and often uses repetitive hand motions.
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