A new research project on
“Restoration of tropical rainforest in degraded landscapes”
invites applications for one postdoctoral position in Conservation Biology beginning in mid 2023 for a period of 3 years.
The project (acronym: UpScaleR) is funded by a grant from the Foundation UniScientia to the Technical University of Darmstadt (TUDa), Germany. The fixed-term positions will be implemented at the Universidad de Las Américas (UDLA) in Quito in close collaboration with TUDa and Fundación Jocotoco.
UpScaleR aims at understanding the dynamics of natural forest recovery from agriculture and degraded land, comparisons with active tree plantations and the contribution of frugivorous vertebrates to tree dispersal. The research will be conducted in and around the Buenaventura Forest Reserve in southwestern Ecuador run by Fundación Jocotoco. The reserve successfully restores and protects a unique tropical forest in the western foothills of the Andes and is home to a particularly diverse flora and fauna including many endemic species. We will study the seed dispersal of tree communities by birds and/or mammals (plant-frugivore networks) in formerly deforested areas, focusing on seedlings, fruit traits and fruit-dispersing animals (especially birds, potentially bats and other mammals). We aim to compare tree and forest recovery across sites with different degrees of forest cover in the surrounding, and aim to unravel the importance of dispersal limitation and the forest matrix for recovery success. This involves extensive monitoring and identification of trees, seedlings, and birds or possibly bats or other mammals. A good level of taxonomic knowledge in plants and/or vertebrates is thus highly desirable for a successful application.
The UpScaleR project aims to inform conservation, forest restoration and management and will be conducted closely together with Fundación Jocotoco. Together, we offer an excellent, international, research environment and research training both at the UDLA, TUDa, as well as in the Research Unit “Reassembly” in North-West Ecuador to which this project is tightly linked. (UpScaleR is an extension – “upscaling” – of Reassembly in a forest dominated landscape context to Buenaventura with a more degraded forest landscape). This project framework thus involves lively collaboration and networking with many scientists, colleagues and PhD candidates from Ecuador and Germany. Both scientists will also visit the two labs in UDLA (their main host institution) and Darmstadt for some time. Employment as a researcher will be at UDLA at their conditions and competitive salaries.
The postdoctoral position is aimed at experienced scientists that have completed a PhD (in botany, zoology or ecology or related disciplines). Applications from any country are welcome, but candidates from Ecuador or other Latin American countries have a large advantage. We expect the postdoc to work together with, and co-advise, a PhD candidate (who has already been selected in a previous call). Both UpScaleR scientists (the postdoc and PhD candidate) will spend many months during the first two years in the remote study area to conduct field work, experiments and plot selection in collaboration with the local staff of Jocotoco. Field work experience in remote areas such as tropical forests and good physical conditions are essential in addition to scientific qualifications, good writing skills in English and communication skills in Spanish. German language proficiency is not required.
The deadline for the application is May 21st, 2023, although later applications may be accepted until the positions are filled. The project will be supervised by Nico Blüthgen, professor for ecology at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Juan Ernesto Guevara, professor for botany at Universidad de Las Américas in Quito, and Martin Schaefer, conservation biologist and director of Jocotoco. Please do not hesitate to contact us individually or together.
Successful applications include a letter of motivation, research interests and experience, CV and publication list. Please submit your application as a single PDF in English by E-mail to Nico Blüthgen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please consult the following homepages for further details:
Buenaventura Reserve / Jocotoco: https://www.jocotoco.org/wb#/EN/Buenaventura
Research Unit Reassembly: https://reassembly.de where this job announcement is posted at … https://www.reassembly.de/the-team/job-announcement/
Juan Ernesto Guevara’s lab: https://investigacion.udla.edu.ec/udla_teams/juan-ernesto-guevara/
Nico Blüthgen’s lab: https://www.econetlab.net/