Postdoctoral Research Associate in Tropical Forest Ecology

University of Reading

United Kingdom

February 9, 2022


Job reference: SRF40098

Location: Whiteknights Reading UK

Closing date: 09/02/2022

Job live date: 07/01/2022

Salary: £31,406 - £40,927 per annum

Employment type: AR-Research

Department: School of Biological Sciences

Division: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Hours per week: 1.0 FTE

Employment Basis/Type: Full time / Fixed term

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position to investigate the spatial ecology of tree-insect interactions in tropical forests. The position is part of a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Dr Sofia Gripenberg (University of Reading) with project partners at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama) and the University of Oxford. The project will use aerial-based mapping to generate tree distribution maps that – in combination with ground-based surveys and experiments – will be used to test predictions derived from the classical Janzen-Connell hypothesis, but at spatial scales at which they have rarely been tested before. More specifically, the project aims to test the hypothesis that reproductive tree individuals that are spatially isolated from conspecifics escape attack by host-specific insects attacking seeds and young seedlings in their vicinity, with potential implications for plant diversity maintenance in tropical forests.

The PDRA will be responsible for mapping selected canopy species across the study area (Barro Colorado Island, Panama) based on aerial imagery, and will, together with an entomological PDRA who will join the project team slightly later, develop and implement protocols for surveying spatial patterns of insect attack and seedling recruitment. The PDRA will also analyse the resulting data sets and write results up for publication.

The successful candidate will have: • A PhD in ecology or a related discipline • An ability and willingness to conduct research that involves field work overseas • Skills in statistical analysis • Excellent written and oral English communication skills • An ability to work both independently and as part of a team

The position is fixed term (36 months); starting date 1st April 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The PDRA will be employed by the University of Reading but because of the nature of the project, the person appointed to this position will also be expected to spend extended periods of time (~15 months spread across 3-4 visits) at the field site in Panama, where he/she will be associated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Interview date: TBC

Informal contact details

Contact role:

Principal Investigator and supervisor

Contact name:

Sofia Gripenberg

Contact email:

Applications from job seekers who require sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications. By reference to the applicable SOC code for this role, sponsorship may be possible under the Skilled Worker Route. Applicants should ensure that they are able to meet the points requirement under the PBS. There is further information about this on the UK Visas and Immigration Website.

​​​​​​​The University is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce, supports the gender equality Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter, and is a Diversity Champion for Stonewall, the leading LGBT+ rights organisation. Applications for job-share, part-time and flexible working arrangements are welcomed and will be considered in line with business needs.

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