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Postdoctoral Research Opportunity in Fire Ecology

A research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Center for Forest Disturbance Science located in Athens, Georgia.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will have an opportunity to collaborate on several projects relating to the spatial dynamics of wildland fire such as connecting patterns of energy transfer to ecological effects, examining global patterns of ignition and fire size, and connecting spatial patterns of fuels, forest structure, fire behavior and fire effects. A portion of the project will be learning how to conduct an analysis of wildfire impacts in the Southern Appalachians. The specific opportunity will depend on the participant's background and interests. The participant will be collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of fire scientists, ecologists, foresters, ecosystem modelers and physicists located at the USFS lab located on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, Georgia. There will be ample opportunity for the participant to pursue relevant individual interests within the overall framework of the team.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: January 6, 2020

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. The initial appointment is for one year, but may be renewed for an additional year upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The annual stipend will be $78,000. A health insurance allowance of $4,000 and a travel allowance of $3,000 will also be provided. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at USFS in the Athens, Georgia, area. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.


The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in biological sciences, ecology, forestry or geography. Preference will be given to candidates with a history of peer reviewed publication.

Preferred Skills:

  • Solid background in forest ecology with a focus on forest stand dynamics, landscape ecology, plant community ecology or ecophysiology
  • Interest in developing expertise in wildland fire science and management
  • Proficiency in spatial data analysis and the ability to exploit Geographic Information Systems
  • Familiarity with remote sensing data platforms, Python or C++ programming, and strong experience in Bayesian analyses and time series analysis