Postdoctoral Associate: Adaptive Management Under A Changing Climate, University of Colorado, Boulder

Start: As soon as possible, 1 yr. & 8 months

Application Deadline: Feb. 4, 2020  (emailed to Laura.Dee@colorado.edu)


Start: As soon as possible, 1 yr. & 8 months

Department: 10160 – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, CU Boulder

Salary: $52,000/yr.

Please contact Laura.Dee[@]colorado.edu for more information.

Job Summary

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado is seeking a postdoctoral (PD) researcher with expertise in modeling Decision Science using an Adaptive Management framework. This project is in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Since 2008, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Nature Conservancy have collaboratively developed and implemented a coordinated adaptive management (AM) framework to inventory remnant prairie, evaluate the influence of management actions (prescribed fire, grazing, and rest) on invasive and native plant communities, and provide management recommendations to land managers. The AM framework was initially established using expert opinion, but we can now use the 10 years of standardized field data from over 22,000 acres of remnant prairie to improve management recommendations and accelerate the rate of improvement for our prairies. The PD will be responsible for working cooperatively with the team to update the AM model and platform, based on analyzing this wealth of acquired data.

The PD will join the Dee lab of Large Scale Ecology & Conservation in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EBIO) at CU Boulder.  The Dee lab combines global change ecology, community ecology, and conservation science and uses quantitative tools from multiple disciplines to understand how ecosystems provide benefits to people, how global change will alter these relationships, and how to best adapt management in response. The EBIO department is a vibrant community.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.


The postdoctoral associate will engage in the Double-Loop learning process of an existing Adaptive Management model using a long-term dataset involving the effects of fire, grazing and rest on native prairie remnants. The PD will analyze existing monitoring data to evaluate system response to environmental variables (e.g., precipitation, climate extremes), test model assumptions and components (e.g., time-step of model, interactions with climate), provide recommendations on model modifications (e.g., how to incorporate the cost of management), and upgrade the model as needed. The AM project is part of a multi-agency collaborative, and the PD will have the opportunity and need to communicate and work with a diverse set of partners, including The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Start date is flexible; however, the PD is requested to attend a U.S. FWS workshop on Adaptive Management February 24-27, 2020 in La Crosse, WI, which will launch the project and serve as an excellent networking opportunity for the post-doctoral associate with team members and other researchers in the Decision Science field.

Minimum Qualifications

The PD should have experience with the following skills:

  • PhD. in Ecology, Decision Science, Conservation Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, or a related field.
  • Strong quantitative analysis and modeling skills (e.g., R, Python, ArcGIS, Stochastic Dynamic Programming)
  • Strong communication skills as the team is geographically dispersed
  • Demonstrated skills in designing and executing research independently
  • Demonstrated experience in scientific writing and manuscript submission to peer-reviewed journals

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience in Decision Science and/or the Structured Decision-Making process
  • Experience leading a team
  • Knowledge of grassland ecology or ecosystems


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Application Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. CV
  2. Cover Letter that outlines relative experience
  3. 2 Letters of Recommendation
  4. Manuscript as an example of work (published or draft)

The Cover Letter should outline relative experiences, availability for Feb. USFWS workshop in Wisconsin (Feb 24-27), and potential start dates. The cover letter should also outline prior experience and exposure to adaptive management and Bayesian updating techniques, as well as other desired skills, e.g., Statistical analysis, model development, use of R or database development.

Note: For initial review, please send applications to laura.dee@colorado.edu due Feb. 4 2020 with the subject line “Adaptive Management Post-Doc Application.” For official consideration, applications must be submitted later through CU Boulder Jobs. 

Undergraduate Researchers 

The Dee lab is recruiting undergraduate researchers and honors students in the lab to work on a range of topics, including:

  • consequences of climate change and extremes for populations, ecosystems, and people
  • food webs impacted by multiple threats and the consequences for ecosystem services
  • functional diversity of ecological communities and the ability for metrics to predict responses of ecosystem functioning to environmental changes
  • honors topic of your choice related to our interests!

Prospective Graduate Students

Interested in joining us? Here is some advice on applying to graduate school and what to expect from Deane Bowers: https://www.bowerslab.org/uploads/1/5/3/2/15321012/advice_for_prospective_graduate_students.pdf