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Postdoc Position - Avian Agroecology


UC Davis




United States

Last Date to Apply:

None provided


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher with expertise in agro-ecology, community
ecology, and/or conservation biology to join Daniel Karp’s lab in the Department of
Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis. The
appointment will be for one-year with the possibility of extension based on


The postdoctoral researcher will join a collaborative and interdisciplinary team of
faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates focused on exploring strategies to
manage birds and bird-mediated ecosystem services on strawberries fields in California
agro-ecosystems. The team is based at UC Davis (Prof. Daniel Karp), UC Berkeley
(Profs. Kathryn De Master), UC Riverside (Prof. Erin Wilson Rankin), Washington State
University (Prof. William Snyder), and the University of British Columbia (Profs. Jiaying
Zhao and Kai Chan), and is supported through the United States Department of
Agriculture’s BENRE program area.


Birds are increasingly viewed as pests and potential foodborne disease vectors in
farmlands. Yet birds also benefit growers by consuming pests. The core aims of this
project are to: (1) identify pest, disease vector, and beneficial bird species and quantify
their net economic impact on strawberry crops, (2) determine how farms could be co-
managed to achieve conservation, food safety, and production goals, and (3) explore
how farmers’ values and attitudes towards birds influence farming practices. Through
our socio-ecological approach and by disseminating findings in workshops and with
decision-support tools, this project has great scope for changing practices and
reframing grower attitudes towards birds.


The project postdoc, with advice and mentorship from Karp and other project
personnel, will be responsible for the execution of ecological field research including:
bird and insect censuses across 20 farms, nest monitoring, and exclosure experiments.
The postdoc will also coordinate a mist-netting program to obtain bird fecal samples,
which will be used to build bird diet profiles though DNA meta-barcoding. In the field,
the postdoc will oversee undergraduate assistants and work with a project coordinator
to recruit and maintain relationships with growers. Two 3-month field seasons in the
California Central Coast are anticipated. The postdoc will be additionally responsible for
(1) helping coordinate monthly project meetings, (2) data management, (3) statistical
analysis and modeling of ecological field data, (4) preparation and submission of
academic manuscripts, and (5) development and dissemination of outreach materials.


• A Ph.D. in Ecology or a closely related field.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to work both
independently and collaboratively with researchers, growers, and practitioners from
different backgrounds.
• Experience designing, planning, and executing ecological field research.
• Demonstrated ability to follow through on project deliverables and communicate
findings in high quality peer-reviewed journals.
• Strong statistical skills and demonstrated proficiency with R or another statistical
• Strong attention to detail, evidenced by prior research.


The following qualification are preferred but not required:
• Prior experience working in agro-ecosystems and/or interfacing with growers.
• Prior experience managing large-scale field projects and mentoring students.
• Experience in bird identification and ornithological field methods such as mist-netting,
point-count censuses, and/or nest searching.
• Demonstrated ability and/or desire to integrate results across interdisciplinary teams.


Please apply by preparing: (1) your CV inclusive of publications, awards, and field
experience, (2) a cover letter discussing your qualifications, research interests, and
motivations for this position, (3) a 1-2 paragraph summary about your commitment to
and/or experience with furthering diversity in the sciences, (4) a 1-2 paragraph
statement regarding your interest in and/or experience with engaging growers and
interdisciplinary research teams, and (5) contact information for 3 references. Send all
materials to dkarp@ucdavis.edu with the subject line: “Post-doc USDA BENRE


For more information about research in Daniel Karp’s lab, visit: http://karp.ucdavis.edu.