Opening for Post-doctoral Researcher in Scheffers Lab
Invasive species range shifts under climate change
Salary: $53,000 (plus benefits; 2-year position)
Start date: January 1, 2021
Location: University of Florida, Gainesville
The Global Change and Ecology Lab (www.schefferslab.com) at UF seeks a postdoctoral scientist interested in modeling the range shifts of invasive animal species of the SE USA and devising management scenarios for range shifting invasive species. The post-doc will be part of a large collaborative team of researchers and managers including University of Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, USGS, and other regional partners. This postdoc position is funded by the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (SE CASC).
This project has theoretical roots in biogeography and macroecology of invasive species but strongly emphasizes management and stakeholder engagement. In addition to predicting the response of invasive animal species to climate change, the successful applicant will implement prioritization schemes, assess the extent to which different management programs may help limit future invasion, and work closely with regional stakeholders to address issues on invasive species range shifts.
The applicant should be familiar with principles of invasion ecology or conservation biology. Desirable skills and experience include spatial analyses (e.g., connectivity analyses, spatial prioritization, stochastic spatial processes) and wildlife and/or invasive species management. A strong familiarity in R and/or Python is a necessity for this position.
We seek to find an applicant with a strong work ethic, showcasing a consistent track record in publishing research. Other desirable qualifications include creativity in addressing classical problems, clear and concise writing skills, and strong communication skills.
A PhD must be defended by December 2021 in an ecological or conservation related field. To be considered for this position, please send a single .pdf containing a 1-2 page cover letter describing your research experience and interest in this position; a curriculum vitae; and contact information for three professional references (name, affiliation, email) to Brett Scheffers (firstname.lastname@example.org) with subject heading: Scheffers Invasion Post-doc
Review of applications will begin on Sept 18th, 2020 and remain open until position is filled. Short-listed applicants will be notified and invited for an interview.
Who are we?
We are a highly collaborative research group with strongly international partners with projects spanning 8 countries. We are always open to collaboration and so please contact Scheffers lab members if you are interested in collaborating on research or joining the lab.
Graduate Research Development
I usually provide students with independence to discover research themes of their choice. I place
an emphasis on conceptual development and important and interesting questions and therefore so long as the taxa and study-scape can address the questions at-hand I generally give my support to student’s proposed projects.
The goal of graduate research is to become a master of a research theme. I typically tell my
students that by the end of the PhD they should have mastered a literature of 70-100 papers and
should have published 4-5 high impact papers on their specific research theme. A 4-5 year PhD
should be comprised, at a minimum, of 4-5 publishable chapters and a 2 year MSc should be
comprised of 2 publishable chapters.
My mentorship philosophy is to strike a balance between student self-discovery and academic
productivity. I typically give PhD students one year of discovery before requiring them to choose
a research topic.
Research in the Scheffers Lab
The Scheffers lab has broad interests in ecology and conservation biology spanning topics and
sub-disciplines from ecophysiology, theoretical ecology, biogeography, macro-ecology,
community ecology and conservation related themes such as climate change, habitat loss,
urbanization, invasive species, and the wildlife trade.
I have broad taxonomic interests and in the past 5 years my students and I have worked with
birds, epiphytic plants, butterflies, understory shrubs, ants, amphibians, reptiles, mosquitoes, and
aquatic diving beetles, among others. Our research includes terrestrial and freshwater systems in
both temperate and tropical regions.
Who should join the Scheffers lab?
We pride ourselves on being a hard-working group of people with a passion for understanding the natural world. So if you have grit, extensive field, lab, or data experience, a desire to learn about the natural history of plants and animals, work extremely hard, and if you are an easy going and light hearted person who enjoys a good joke and the company of fellow ecologist and conservation biologists, then the Scheffers lab is the right place for you.
Expectations in the Lab
My goal and challenge as a mentor is to adjust my mentoring approach to complement and
support each student’s work style and needs. You can expect that I take my goal and mentorship
duty very seriously and I am committed to each student in my lab to ensure they are as
productive as possible during their graduate tenure.
I expect each student to enter the lab with a determination for excellence and a philosophy that
they are the holder and bearer of their own productivity. I believe individual responsibility is
essential to a successful graduate degree and career. In other words, success falls on no other
person’s shoulders than the students. That said, my goal is to help each student navigate the
academic waters from inception of idea, to implementation, analyses, and writing. I will work
with each student to identify his or her strengths and weaknesses. I will support students to help
address weaknesses either through individual development via workshops and courses or by
putting students in touch with my collaborators who might fill this void. I learned this approach
from my PhD supervisor, Navjot Sodhi, and it has been a successful approach with my past and
I do not expect or want perfectionism in graduate research but I do expect 100% effort and
commitment from each student. Perfectionism, in graduate research, is a long dark hallway with
no clearly defined end – an academic purgatory – that should be avoided. I will work closely
with students to identify when research is sufficiently developed for publication. Striking this
balance is critical to getting research in the highest possible impact journals while also
Opportunities and how to apply
At the University of Florida, I can accept students through the Department of Wildlife Ecology
and Conservation or the School for Natural Resources and Environment.
Students interested in joining the lab are encouraged to apply for external fellowships (e.g.,
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship). If you intend to apply for one of these fellowships, please indicate this in your cover letter to me. All prospective students should contact me by email with the following materials:
a curriculum vitae
a description of research experience and possible graduate research topics
a short explanation highlighting why the Scheffers lab would be a good fit for this research
a short description of career goals