Research Fellow in Tropical Forest Water Relations

Leeds, United Kingdom
£33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
23 Nov 2019
End of advertisement period
19 Dec 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have skills in analysing ecological and ecophysiological datasets and a particular interest in the sensitivity of Amazon forests to drought? Do you want to further your career in one of the UK’s leading research intensive Universities?

The Ecology and Global Change research cluster at Leeds conducts world-leading research in tropical ecosystem ecology and change. We are looking to recruit a highly skilled and ambitious Postdoctoral Research Fellow to lead analysis of a novel dataset of hydraulic traits sampled across Amazonian forests, as part of the NERC-funded ARBOLES (“A trait-based Understanding of LATAM Forest Biodiversity and Resilience”) Project. The central aim of ARBOLES is to better understand the functional trait basis of forest climate sensitivity and resilience. The post will also contribute to the FORAMA project (“For a Climate Resilient Amazon”) funded by the Royal Society.

You will be responsible for leading the analysis of plant water status and hydraulic trait data collected by the PI’s team across Amazonian forests and publishing results in leading journals. The dataset encompasses over 100 Amazonian species and includes data on resistance to embolism, hydraulic conductivity, leaf turgor loss point, in situ leaf water potential measurements and the response of stomatal conductance to water stress. Through these analyses, you will greatly advance our understanding of the sensitivity of different Amazon forests and species to water stress. Specific lines of investigation will include the quantification of the xylem safety vs. efficiency trade-off and characterization of stomatal control strategies across Amazonian tree taxa. You may also go on to explore the power of these traits in explaining species life history attributes, biogeographical distributions and their response to drought events. 

In ARBOLES, you will be expected to work closely with students and visitors from Latin America who also study plant functional traits and may also train Latin American students in how to make hydraulic trait measurements. You will be based in Leeds throughout, but will work interactively with colleagues elsewhere in the U.K. and in South America. You will have previous experience measuring hydraulic traits (e.g. xylem vulnerability curves, leaf water potential in the field, leaf pressure-volume curves), have excellent existing skills in statistical analysis using R, a willingness to collaborate widely with colleagues in Latin America, as well as the ability to publish in leading physiological and ecological journals.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Dr David Galbraith, Associate Professor

Tel: +44 (0)113 34 32730, email:

Location:      Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:      Faculty of Environment
School/Institute:      School of Geography
Category:      Research
Grade:      Grade 7
Salary:      £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Post Type:      Full Time
Contract Type:      Fixed Term (Fixed-term for 10 months (due to external funding))
Closing Date:      Thursday 19 December 2019
Downloads: Candidate Brief