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Postdoc Soil Science/Agroecology/Agronomy/Hydrology

18.11.2019 - University of California-Davis, USA

The Soil Biogeochemistry Lab at the University of California-Davis is seeking a post-doctoral research associate with training in soil science, agronomy, agroecology or hydrology or related discipline to examine the impact of cover crops in specialty crop systems (i.e. Walnut orchards).

California is the nation’s largest agricultural producing state and has the largest specialty crop acreage. This position provides a unique opportunity to combine scientific research with the needs of the commodity industry. This is a multi-partner effort involving experts from UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis and USDA-ARS.

The postdoctoral research associate will be responsible for evaluating cover crop mixes on soil nitrogen transformations, water use, tree nitrogen uptake, soil health and the economics of cover crop use. The incumbent will also be expected to conduct and contribute to extension activities and prepare both research and extension publications. The project will focus on understanding how cover crops impact the nitrogen and water cycles in orchards to inform development of nitrogen management guidelines and improve adoption of cover crops to support soil health. Experience in ecological isotope applications and/or biogeochemical models is highly desirable.

The incumbent will develop hypotheses based on current literature, design and conduct experiments, perform work in the laboratory and field, analyze data, and prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. The postdoctoral associate will work independently with minimal supervision. This is a full time, 12-month appointment with one additional year available depending on performance.

Main Responsibilities:
• Experimental design
• Field sample collection and processing
• Data analysis and interpretation
• Review of relevant literature
• Preparation of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals
• Conduct and participate extension activities

Minimum qualifications:
• PhD in soil science, agronomy, plant science, agroecology or hydrology
• Expertise in soil nitrogen and/or carbon cycles,
• Experience with isotope ecological applications
• Evidence of effective data analysis, scientific writing and publication in English

Preferred qualifications:
• Experience with soil water movement
• Experience with process-based models (e.g. DayCent and DNDC)
• Experience with grant writing


Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Open date: November 15, 2019, but application review begins immediately

Special instructions to applicants:

Interested persons should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a list of 3 references, including contact information, to Dr. Xia Zhu-Barker (wyjzhu@ucdavis.edu). Dr. Zhu-Barker will be in SSSA meeting in San Antonio and available to schedule a meeting with interested persons.


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