Opportunities Quantitative Plant Ecologist

Quantitative Plant Ecologist

Our organisation is growing and we have an opportunity for an early to mid-career quantitative plant ecologist to join the dynamic and stimulating research environment at Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research.  We want an enthusiastic and highly motivated scientist to undertake analysis and interpretation of temporal and spatial changes in forest and shrublands, and create predictive models that will advance our understanding of important environmental issues.
Our land, our future - this is the essence of why Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research exists. At Manaaki Whenua we undertake research that focuses on preserving New Zealand's rich biodiversity, improving biosecurity, and protecting the health of the land, fresh water and soil resources we need for a prosperous future. We recognise the importance of partnerships, the special role of Māori, and the need to ensure that all New Zealanders have the knowledge, understanding, and tools to truly live in harmony with our precious environment. We are recognized nationally and internationally for the quality of our research and work with a wide range of organisations within New Zealand and globally.
This position involves working primarily with plant ecologists in the Ecosystems and Global Change (EGC) team, which seeks to understand how ecosystems function and to apply this understanding to improve management. We use quantitative tools to understand ecological processes across a diverse range of ecosystems throughout New Zealand. Much of our work is carried out at field study sites in shrublands and forests (publically, privately- or Māori-owned), farms and offshore islands.
We use a range of techniques including micrometeorological, physiological, plot-based measurements and molecular and chemical analyses to better understand the processes governing ecosystem function. We also use mechanistic, spatial and statistical models to achieve spatial and temporal scaling so that results can be generalised across the broad geographic areas and time scales relevant to our diverse stakeholders.
Our team is also responsible for curating the National Vegetation Survey databank (NVS), a world-leading repository for New Zealand's plot-based vegetation data describing plant species occurrence and abundance, vegetation structure, and environment. NVS is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 21,000 permanent plots.
The main focus of the role is:

  • Analysis and interpretation of temporal and spatial changes in forest and shrubland individuals, populations and communities
  • To create or refine predictive models of forest dynamics, based on empirical evidence, which will advance understanding of key environmental issues in New Zealand
  • To advance trait- and species-based understanding of vegetation dynamics focussed on New Zealand taxa
You will have: 
  • A doctorate in plant ecology or related discipline with Interest and experience in ecosystem ecology, vegetation dynamics, landscape processes and environmental management
  • Excellent publication record with respect to career stage
  • Proven independent, professional judgement in decision-making and ability to develop theoretical and conceptual solutions to complex questions
  • Highly quantitative with demonstrated skills in mathematics, multi-variate statistics, computer programming and data processing. Programming skills in languages such as R, Python, C++ etc
  • Proven ability in research design, implementation and collection of primary data
  • Experience with handling large data sets and integrating into other analytical pipelines
  • Strong skills in spatial data manipulation and analyses, across both spatial and non-spatial data types
  • Ability to synthesise across different sources of data - e.g., plot-based with traits data
  • Demonstrated ability to work on a range of spatial scales
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a collaborative research team
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
We offer the opportunity to be an integral part of a team environment with a chance to work on a variety of research questions. As an employee of Manaaki Whenua, you will work with passionate and talented people in a caring and family-friendly environment, and enjoy good staff benefits.
The position is open-term (permanent) and full-time (37.5 hours per week), and is based at our Lincoln office near Christchurch, New Zealand.
For further details about our organisation and the relevance of our science visit our website: www.landcareresearch.co.nz
If you would like to take advantage of this great opportunity please view the position description and apply online by clicking the 'Apply Now' button below.
The closing date for submission of applications is Sunday 14 January 2018 at 5pm.
Please note, that due to the holiday break over this time, interviews are only expected to be held towards the end of January 2018.

Open Date: November 21, 2017
Close Date: January 31, 2018
Location: New Zealand
Attachment: N/A

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