Postdoctoral Associate, Project Baseline: a seed bank for the study of evolution.

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We seek a 75% time Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth to participate in a collaborative project to create a new resource for detecting evolutionary change in plants. The Postdoctoral Associate will be primarily located in Duluth, MN ( but will coordinate with the PIs and Field Crew Managers to conduct seed collections in three US regions in the west (Susan Mazer, UCSB), midwest (Julie Etterson, U of MN Duluth and Ruth Shaw U of MN Twin Cities), and east (Steve Franks, Fordham University). The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed for a total of up to 36 months; the preferred start date is no later than November 15, 2011. The base salary is $37,333 (75%-time $28,000) and includes healthcare and other benefits. 

Project Baseline:

The goal of this project is to create a nationwide seed bank of wild populations to be preserved for the next 10-50 years at the National Germplasm Conservation Lab in Fort Collins, CO. This resource will enable assessments of both rapid and long-term responses to climate change and facilitate investigation of the genetic basis of adaptation. We will also create a GIS database of population and environmental information that will be useful in a wide variety of ecological and conservation applications. For more information on the project, see Franks et al. 2008, The resurrection initiative: Storing ancestral genotypes to capture evolution in action. BioScience 58: 870-873. 

Job responsibilities:

The Postdoctoral Associate will be responsible for promoting and developing the Project Baseline seed collections. The Postdoctoral Associate will be expected to communicate about the project to the general public and the scientific community and to encourage public participation through presentations, informational materials to be made available on-line, workshops, publications, a newsletter, and the Project Baseline web page. The Postdoctoral Associate will be responsible for designing seed collections including: obtaining species lists for appropriate sites, identifying populations within these sites through communication with site managers, finalizing collection lists, obtaining collecting permits, and developing collaborative relationships with on site individuals who can monitor plant phenology, and developing and testing specific protocols for collecting environmental data, monitoring flowering phenology, and collecting and shipping seeds. The Postdoctoral Associate will establish relationships with the PIs and participate in training the seed collection crews. Data will be sent from field crews to the Postdoctoral Associate who will develop databases compatible with GRIN (National Genetic Resources Program) and use GIS technology to produce maps that report locations of seed collection sites; record climate data; and archive other data associated with project development. Effective communication with herbarium and Germplasm Conservation Lab staff will be maintained to assure that samples are properly vouchered and preserved. This position offers opportunities to design an independent project compatible with Project Baseline's goals and seek additional funding to increase the position to full-time, as well as to participate in other career-development activities. 


Essential qualifications include Ph.D. and three years experience in plant ecology, botany, or evolution or other relevant fields; strong organizational, writing, and field skills, including GIS, database development, vegetation and environmental sampling, plant identification, excellent writing and communication skills. Preferred qualifications include experience in a long-term research and outreach programs and experience writing research proposals. Candidates with career interests in research and/or teaching at all types of institutions or working in environmental management through governmental agencies, consulting firms or nonprofit organizations are all welcome. 

Application process:

Applications should include a cover letter with current contact information, CV, summary of research interests and skills, and the names and addresses of three referees. The University of Minnesota requires that you apply online for this position. For a complete position description and information on how to apply online, visit, and search for Job Requisition #173282. Complete applications will be reviewed beginning October 15, 2011. Applications will be accepted until position is filled. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. [Posted 30 September 2011]

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