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Research Associate, Rangeland Dynamics on the Tibetan Plateau (601-254)

Position Deleted on 1/30/2013. This position is no longer an active posting on HigherEdJobs.
Missoula, MT
  • Admin - Laboratory and Research
  • Faculty - Agriculture - Environmental Science, Ecology & Forestry
Application Due:
Open Until Filled
Full Time

The research associate will synthesize biological and social data collected during 2009-2012 in Qinghai Province, China on the dynamics of grassland ecosystems. The research associate will collate and organize the project's data on species-specific vegetation biomass, environmental covariates, livestock density and movements, small mammal density, and attributes of livestock husbandry systems. Working with a colleague in the Department of Mathematics, the researcher will generate appropriate statistical models to identify patterns and drivers of vegetation change. Along with colleagues at 2 partner Universities, the researcher will develop manuscripts based on these analyses suitable for publication in the international scientific literature. The researcher will participate as a team member in a multi-university project to develop a mathematical model of the pastoral systems studied. The researcher will join colleagues from the 2 partner Universities in presenting results and obtaining additional feedback from governmental and non-governmental groups in China.


The University of Montana, in collaboration with Arizona State University, the University of Colorado, and Qinghai Normal University (Xining, China) is currently completing a multi-year project entitled "Determinants of Grassland Dynamics in Tibetan Highlands: Livestock, Wildlife, and the Culture and Political Economy of Pastoralism" funded by NSF under the CNH program. Field work was conducted during 2009-2012, and is now complete. The PI now requires assistance in statistical analysis and development of manuscripts that will synthesize these data.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Rich Harris, Adjunct Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, College of Forestry and Conservation. This is a one-year position, and includes funding for 1 trip to China. The applicant must be able to work independently, as Dr. Harris does not work on campus. The successful candidate my relocate to Missoula, MT (although no assistance for doing so is provided), or work remotely as long as satisfactory communication with the PI and colleagues can be assured. Timing of the position is flexible. Ideally, the 12-months will begin in January 2013, but the start date can be extended if necessary.

Experience Required
  • Ph.D. in range ecology, range management, forestry, ecology, or related discipline (Ph.D. must be completed by February 2013).
  • Research experience related to integrating biological and social science data (preferably in a developing country setting).
  • Demonstrated ability to collate and analyze complex biological data.
  • Excellent writing and oral communicate skills.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively, problem-solve effectively.
  • Ability to work in a cross-cultural setting.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of and experience utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods (including spatial data and complex ANOVA-type models).
  • Publications in relevant fields.
  • Knowledge of grassland plants.
  • Knowledge of common-property systems, particularly as related to rangelands.
  • Ability to work with partners from different disciplines, including the social sciences.


Screening of applications will begin on December 14, 2012 and continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

Upload the following materials: *Please note: only five (5) attachments are allowed per application. Please combine documents accordingly .

  • A cover letter
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • A publication or other writing sample
  • Word document containing the responses to the following questions:
    • Please summarize your experience in working on grassland and/or rangeland ecosystems.
    • Please summarize your experience in conducting statistical analyses on large, complex data sets.
    • Please summarize your experience in writing technical, scientific papers for publication in the international scientific literature.
  • Names and contact information for three (3) professional references

Criminal Background Investigation: In accordance with University policy, finalists for this position will be subject to criminal background investigations.

ADA/EOE/AA/Veteran's Preference: Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. For example, this material is available in alternative format upon request. As an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, we encourage applications from minorities, veterans, and women. Qualified candidates may request veterans' or disabilities preference in accordance with state law.

References: *References not listed on the application materials may be contacted; notice may be provided to the applicant.

Testing: Individual hiring departments at UM-M may elect to administer pre-employment tests, which are relevant to essential job functions.

Employment Eligibility: All New Employees must be eligible and show employment eligibility verification by the first date of employment at UM, as legally required (e.g., Form I-9).

The University of Montana is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from qualified minorities, Vietnam era veterans, and women. This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Qualified candidates may request veterans’ preference in accordance with state law
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