We have an exciting applied-research opportunity for a passionate postdoctoral researcher interested in the ecology and community dynamics of grassland and shrubland birds, plus vegetation composition and structure, under different livestock-grazing regimes at multiple scales. Numerous partners are interested in evaluating the ability of traditional and several emerging grazing strategies (e.g., active herding, virtual fencing, and open-gate rotation) to balance trade-offs in economic viability for livestock producers while maintaining ecological integrity in the short and longer terms.
Livestock grazing is the most-pervasive land use across Montana, and grazing management remains one of the major issues affecting public-land management. Amidst invasive grasses, increasing frequency of drought, and other challenges, finding solutions requires collaborations that are well informed by field data, analyses, and grassroots efforts with private- and public-land managers. Across shrub-steppe and grassland systems of western North America, many bird species associated with these vegetation communities are experiencing pervasive declines.
Such species include Sprague’s Pipit, Thick-billed Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Long-billed curlew, and Baird’s Sparrow, as well as Brewer’s Sparrow, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Sage Thrasher. The position is guaranteed for at least 24 months, and we are aggressively pursuing funding for at least another 1-2 years.
Qualifications: The successful postdoc will: spearhead the implementation of the various grazing strategies at multiple spatial scales; liaise as ambassador for the project with diverse partners; exhibit flexibility, organization, innovation, and positive attitude amidst logistical and other constraints; engage with the local conservation community; ensure attention to detail in measurement and management of data on multiple ecosystem indicators; and lead publication of key results in peer-reviewed journals.
Well-developed interpersonal skills and sound decision-making to work effectively in remote, high-elevation landscapes inhabited by grizzly bears; a strong work ethic; a desire to mentor budding professionals; intellectual inquisitiveness and open-mindedness; previous relevant field-research experience; and a desire to collaborate with private ranchers, state and federal land managers, and university and federal-agency researchers are required for this effort in two regions of Montana.
Highly qualified and interested researchers should contact Dr. Erik Beever (EBeever@usgs.gov) and MSU administrative specialist Julie Hager (JHager@montana.edu), and send a single document containing: 1) your CV, 2) a 1-page statement of interest (cover letter) that outlines pertinent experience, general qualifications, and your fit to the skills and criteria listed above, and 3) contact information for 3-5 professional references.
Previous experience with ranching (including fencing and water systems), exposure to land-management techniques (including prescriptive grazing treatments), mixed-effects modeling and multivariate statistics, R, data management, GIS, familiarity with Bayesian statistics, ecology fieldwork in large and well-connected landscapes, familiarity with the semi-arid grassland and shrubland ecosystems of the northern USA, familiarity with working landscapes for conservation, and appropriate coursework and experience leading research as indicated by graduate and undergraduate transcripts and publication history are considerations in the selection process.
To be considered for the position, interested researchers must apply at this website: https://jobs.montana.edu/postings/33200 .
General information on Montana State University is available at http://www.montana.edu/. Learn more about our efforts at usgs.gov/staff-profiles/erik-beever, fws.gov/refuge/red-rock-lakes, fws.gov/refuge/bowdoin, nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/centennial-valley/, and http://animalrange.montana.edu/directory/faculty/1524627/bok-sowell.
Salary $57,500./yr, plus benefits
Start Date 01/09/2023
Last Date to Apply 06/12/2022