Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Plant Invasions

Canterbury, New Zealand
07 Jul 2017
End of advertisement period
15 Aug 2017
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Risk modelling of the dispersal and spread of alien conifers in New Zealand

The Bio-Protection Research Centre, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Lincoln University, finds innovative, natural and sustainable solutions to protect New Zealand's plant-based, productive ecosystems from pests, diseases and weeds. We are now embarking on an ambitious 5-year multidisciplinary research programme examining the ecology, impacts and management of invasive alien conifer species in New Zealand. The research involves researchers at Lincoln University, Canterbury University, Scion and Landcare Research drawing on a wide range of expertise from plant and soil ecology, spatial and economic modelling as well as different management approaches.

As part of the larger multi-disciplinary project on invasive alien conifers, within the Bio-Protection Research Centre, we are seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to develop risk models of the dispersal and spread of alien conifers in New Zealand. You will join of one of the most productive plant invasion research groups in New Zealand under the leadership of Professor Philip Hulme.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will quantify intraspecific and interspecific variation in alien conifer seed dispersal, to establish which species in New Zealand have greatest dispersal potential and whether certain provenances are more risky than others. Research will identify trade-offs in dispersal risk and magnitude of variation across species and provenances. They will then integrate dispersal parameters with existing dispersal models to derive a quantitative consolidated risk index. Subsequently they will analyse spatiotemporal population structure of existing conifer invasions. This step will identify the role of landscape, land-use history, and propagule pressure on geographic variation in wilding population growth; as such, this activity is a space for time-independent evaluation of both dispersal and establishment risk. By integrating the consolidated risk index and retrospective spread assessment, they will assess the relative roles of species and environmental parameters in spread risk. These streams of information will be used to generate spatially explicit predictions of dispersal and establishment risk. Results will be integral to the wider project and will feed in to economic and decision support models being developed by other teams.

The position is funded for a period of 4 years, starting in 2017. Applicants will be required to have:

  • A PhD in ecology or a related field
  • Research experience in the area of plant invasion ecology
  • Strong skills in quantitative data analysis, particularly statistical modelling
  • Knowledge of spatial ecology and Geographical Information System
  • A record of peer reviewed publications.

As travel between field sites may be a feature of this position, a current driver’s licence is also required.

Further information is available on the Bio-Protection Research Centre website

For a discussion about the role please contact Arneka de Vries, Human Resources on 03 421 5437. Informal enquiries may be made to Sandy Wilson, Bio-Protection Research Centre Secretary,

Applications should consist of:

  • a cover letter expressing interest in position, your suitability for the post and date of availability
  • a CV including publication list
  • a statement of research interests
  • contact details for three referees.

Closing date for applications is 9am, 15 August 2017.

Lincoln University is an EEO employer and actively seeks to meet its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.