[ES_JOBS_NET] Postdoctoral Research Associate, Linking root traits and ecosystem processes, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Christine Wiedinmyer christin at ucar.edu
Wed Nov 25 14:08:15 MST 2015

This is a full-time, salaried postdoc position located in Oak Ridge, 
Tennessee.  Relocation assistance is provided.  The link to formally 
apply is http://1.usa.gov/1SkucPY <http://1.usa.gov/1SkucPY>.

*Postdoctoral Research Associate, Linking root traits and ecosystem 


*Purpose: *

Under general supervision, the incumbent will conduct research within 
the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) program at ORNL. Specific 
research tasks include woody plant fine-root and rhizosphere responses 
to warming and elevated [CO_2 ] at a new climate change experiment in 
northern Minnesota, as well as linkages among root dynamics and 
ecosystem carbon and water fluxes in a long-running AmeriFlux site in 
Missouri. Focused, self-directed research is also expected. This 
position resides in the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD) and 
Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

The TES program at ORNL is focused on advancing mechanistic 
understanding of terrestrial ecosystem processes and applying such 
advances to terrestrial biosphere models for simulating impacts of 
climate change. The group encompasses multiple disciplines spanning 
experiment, data, model and supercomputing to investigate how critical 
ecosystems may respond to climate change, and how feedbacks from those 
responses affect global climate.

The flagship ORNL-TES ‘/Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and 
Environmental Change/’ (SPRUCE) field experiment is located in Marcell, 
MN at the southern edge of the boreal forest in a high carbon peatland 
expected to be particularly vulnerable to projected changes in climate. 
Ten large, open-topped field chambers have been built within a black 
spruce – /Sphagnum/ bog ecosystem. Five enclosures are currently being 
warmed—above- and belowground—in a regression design (+0 to +9 °C), 
while another five are being warmed in the same regression design, and 
also exposed to elevated CO_2 concentrations (+500 ppm) to facilitate 
understanding of response thresholds of key mechanisms associated with 
ecosystem carbon, water and energy fluxes. Additional information can be 
found online about the SPRUCE project (http://mnspruce.ornl.gov) or 
Climate Change Science Institute (http://climatechangescience.ornl.gov/)

The MOFLUX project is also part of the ORNL’s TES program. The MOFLUX 
site has been in operation since 2004, and is located at the University 
of Missouri’s Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Area (BWREA) near 
Ashland, Missouri. This site is characterized by extremely high levels 
of biogenic isoprene emission. It also has the longest known continuous 
observation of tree mortality and predawn leaf water potential of 
multiple species. The site is located in a key ecotone between the 
Eastern Deciduous Forest and Prairie regions and is subject to large 
inter-annual variation in summer precipitation and drought intensity.


*Major Duties and Responsibilities:*

•Design and lead experiments focused quantifying root and rhizosphere 
traits, and their response to warming and elevated [CO_2 ] (SPRUCE) and 
developing relationships among root traits and ecosystem carbon and 
water fluxes measured with an eddy covariance system and soil chambers 
(MOFLUX). Research will involve multiple trips to northern Minnesota and 
also Missouri throughout the growing season.

•Collaborate with internal DOE and external University researchers to 
comprehensively assess belowground responses to treatments (SPRUCE 

•Develop novel hypotheses and successfully complete self-directed study 
of plant, soil, or ecosystem level processes.

•Participate in monthly SPRUCE teleconferences.

•Periodic travel to various conferences for presentation of results and 
interactions with other researchers.

•Publication of scientific results in high-impact peer-reviewed journals 
in a timely manner.

•Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program 

•Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of 
values and ethics.


•A PhD in root ecology, ecosystem ecology, or a closely related field, 
completed within the last 5 years.

•An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by 
publications in peer-reviewed journals

•Expertise, as measured through first-author publications and/or major 
conference presentations focused on root ecology and one or more of the 
following disciplines: ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, peatland or 
wetland ecology, global change ecology, or ecosystem modeling.

•Expertise in experimental field ecological research and associated 
laboratory approaches.

•Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to 
communicate in English to an international scientific audience.

QUALIFICATIONS DESIRED: Expertise and experience in minirhizotron data 
analysis, quantification of root morphology, anatomy, or physiology, 
soil nutrient dynamics, ecosystem carbon and water fluxes, ecosystem 
modeling or an appreciation of data-model interactions are strongly 

The appointment length will be up to 24 months with the potential for 

Applicants cannot have received the most recent degree more than five 
years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree 
requirements before starting their appointment.

To formally apply, please visit http://1.usa.gov/1SkucPY .

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants, 
including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are 
encouraged to apply.


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