Research Technician, Bioenergy Crops in the Americas

One Research Technician position is available for multiple years with a large interdisciplinary 5-year NSF-PIRE funded research project that will examine the social, economic, and ecological implications of bioenergy development in four countries across the Americas: Argentina (eucalyptus for biodiesel), Brazil (conversion of natural forests to soy, palm, and sugarcane for ethanol and biodiesel), Mexico (jatropha for biodiesel), and the U.S. (conversion of aspen forests to cellulosic ethanol).  The technician will work with 3 PhD students, 1 masters student and the investigators to quantify bird species richness and pollinator communities in and around biofuel crops and the reference (native) vegetation at each of the four study sites.  Other project foci include quantifying soil carbon and nutrient cycling and understanding forest hydrology in the above ecosystems.

There will be substantial opportunities to collaborate with other researchers with diverse backgrounds and expertise both within the US and within Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.  This will foster more integrated analysis of the impacts of bioenergy production on coupled biodiversity, water, carbon, and nutrient cycles within each of the study systems.

The technician will be based at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI and will be co-supervised by Drs. David Flaspohler, Chris Webster, Rod Chimner, and Sigrid Resh.  Houghton Michigan is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near Lake Superior and offers a host of outdoor recreational opportunities in summer and winter. The position will also require travel for extended periods of time to each of the four study sites.

Minimum qualifications include a PhD degree (or comparable demonstrated experience) in ecology, soils, wildlife ecology, or a related field.  Candidates will require a strong analytical background and an ability to manage large data sets and supervise graduate students and field assistants.  Additionally, the prospective candidate should have demonstrated motivation and strong work habits, the ability to work independently as well as within a research group, and demonstrated ability to produce peer-reviewed publications based on individual research.

Experience in some of the following areas will be valued: field-based bird surveys by sight and sound, collecting vegetation data, and censusing pollinator arthropods, characterizing soils, measuring trace gasses and ecosystem modeling, conducting field-based hydrological measurements.  We do not expect that any candidate will have experience in all of the above areas but they should be interested in ecosystem-level, integrative, and cross-disciplinary research, and in acquiring new skills.

Proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese is also very highly valued.

Interested candidates should submit a curriculum vitae, statement of interest, transcripts (unofficial versions are acceptable), and the names and contact information for three references to David Flaspohler,

Review of applications will begin December 1, 2012 and will continue until the position is filled. The anticipated start date is sometime between January and May 2013 (negotiable).  Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity/Affirmative Action/equal access employer.

Houghton, Michigan
Michigan Technological University
David Flaspohler