12 August 2021

Lincoln University is offering an exciting opening for a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Distinguished Professor Philip Hulme, one of the leading groups studying plant invasions in the world. This is a fantastic prospect for an emerging scientist to work on cutting-edge research addressing the landscape-scale determinants of non-native plant invasions in one of New Zealand’s most highly valued indigenous ecosystems.

The project will be using a novel approach to research in this field, focusing on the landscape-scale processes acting to drive plant invasions in a single, relatively homogenous yet widespread ecosystem in New Zealand: the manuka/kanuka shrublands.

This postdoctoral fellow will examine the macroecological drivers of manuka/scrub invasion by non-native plant species and aim to:

  • determine the role of landscape attributes, land-use history, ecosystem characteristics, and species traits on non-native plant species richness and abundance in the target ecosystem across New Zealand
  • integrate these findings to generate an integrative ecosystem invasion risk index
  • use this information to provide recommendations to stakeholders of the landscape scale attributes (e.g., levels of fragmentation, ecosystem perturbation, propagule source areas) that will need to be managed to limit plant invasions.

The postdoctoral fellow will work collaboratively with Distinguished Professor Hulme, and with a PhD student who will use experimental approaches to address related questions in the same ecosystem. Research will entail analysing national plot data in relation to surrounding ecosystem characteristics and land-use metrics to assess whether the more fragmented habitats experience greater non-native plant ingress and the importance of different anthropogenic habitats as potential sources of these weeds. Abiotic factors such as climate, elevation etc will be factored into such analyses as well as an assessment of the role of species traits (e.g., dispersal syndrome, shade tolerance, life-form). This research will be followed up by standardised field-based surveys of understorey vegetation in manuka/kanuka scrub patches at up to three regions in New Zealand. These surveys will examine finer scale patterns such as edge effects, light regime and ecotones on weed ingress. Integration of both the large-scale and fine scale studies will assess the scale dependence of plant invasions.

Ngā tino Pūkenga/Whēako – Essential skills/experiences for the role

Applicants will be required to have:

  • a PhD in ecology or a related field preferably with interest in plant ecology or weed invasions
  • experience with the quantitative analysis of ecological data using programmes such as R, particularly the analysis of plant functional trait data
  • knowledge of spatial ecology and ability to use geographical information systems
  • a developing record of scholarly research and publication, preferably with publications in international journals in the field of plant ecology or plant science
  • good interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work with students and staff from a diverse range of backgrounds
    As travel between field sites may be a feature of this position, a current driver’s licence is also required.

This is a full-time, two-year, fixed-term position.

For more information, including the job description and how to apply, visit the Lincoln University Careers website, or contact Distinguished Professor Philip Hulme, on +64 3 423 0902

Applications close on Monday 13 September 2021 at 9am.

Important Notice

In response to COVID-19 the New Zealand Government have imposed travel restrictions and are currently only allowing New Zealand residents, citizens and visa holders meeting a strict exception policy to enter the country, all of whom must currently enter Government-approved isolation/quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. It is uncertain when these border restrictions will change, and this may impact the degree to which an offshore candidate will be able to participate in the recruitment process, particularly an on-site interview. To see how this might affect your application and for more information and updates on the border restrictions visit the Immigration New Zealand website or the New Zealand Government’s official Covid-19 website.