Postdoctoral Fellow in Wilding Invasions

    Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences
    • Come join UC, a world-class research institute
    • Full-time at 37.5 hours per week (1.0 FTE)
    • Fixed-term position (3 years)

    Āu Mahi | What You Will Do
    UC's School of Biological Sciences has an opportunity for a Postdoctoral Fellow to participate play a key role in the project 'Vive la resistance: achieving long-term success in managing wilding conifer invasions'. We seek a post-doctoral researcher with an interest in applying plant, fungal and soil ecology to restoring ecosystems following invasive species removal. The researcher will focus on wilding conifers (primarily Pinus and Pseudotsuga) in New Zealand.

    Wilding conifers are an economic and environmental disaster that already cover 1.5M ha of NZ. A further 7.5M ha of productive or iconic conservation land are threatened by invasion in the next 30 years. In response, the Government endorsed the National Wilding Conifer Management Strategy (NWCMS) and established a National Wilding Conifer Control Programme (NWCCP) in 2016. Existing wilding populations are being treated but current control efforts do not consider that cleared land is more likely to be re-invaded due to incomplete initial control, soil legacy effects, seed banks and other causes.

    Our research will determine how to optimise multi-trophic biotic resistance to minimise wilding re-invasion by using experimental manipulations of introduced native and exotic plant communities, herbivores, and native pathogens. We already have a deep understanding of the potential for biotic interactions to resist/facilitate invasion but we have yet to realise that potential. This approach will effectively operationalise alternative state theory: transitioning post- control ecosystems from an undesirable state (low value, easily re-invaded) into either exotic grasslands (high economic value) or native vegetation (high conservation value), while minimising re-invasion. Harnessing native pathogens alongside herbivory and competition could improve ecosystem resistance to re-invasion in a novel, more acceptable and sustained way than current strategies allow. A key component of this role will be establishing and monitoring plantings of native trees in remote sites following wilding pine control.

    Further background information is summarised in a recent review article here:

    Mōu | Who You Are
    To be successful in this position you will ideally have the following:
    • a PhD in ecology, mycology/microbiology, or related disciplines
    • a research background in ecology, ecosystem restoration, plant physiology, mycology, and/or soil science.
    • demonstrated experience of excellent research capabilities (design and leadership) required to carry out innovative and insightful research.
    • a strong publication track record (relative to experience level) as well as experience with preparation and delivery of quality oral presentations to a wide range of audiences are essential.
    • analytical/modelling skills using R
    • a strong grounding in ecological theory.

    Mahi Ngātahi | Who You Will Work With
    Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | The School of Biological Sciences has a high national and international profile and has an excellent teaching and research infrastructure. We have well-established research programmes from molecular to whole-organism and ecological scales. For more information, visit the School of Biological Science webpage.

    The post-doctoral researcher will join the Ecosystem Mycology group at the University of Canterbury, led by Prof. Ian Dickie, with key collaborators at the University of Canterbury (Dr. J. Pirker, Prof. M. Turnbull), Manaaki Whenua | Landcare Research (Dr. D. Peltzer), Lincoln University (Prof. P. Hulme), and Scion (Drs. T. Paul, C. Rolando, B. Richardson).

    Ngā Painga o UC | Why UC
    Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora - Engaged, Empowered, Making a Difference.

    What we offer
    The University is committed to providing an excellent working environment through:
    • Generous annual leave provisions
    • Flexible working arrangements
    • Supportive working environment
    • Professional development opportunities
    • Living in Aotearoa New Zealand
    • A unique working environment in a beautiful campus with access to UC facilities such as the recreation centre and Staff club at discounted rates plus onsite cafés and eateries, and more.

    For more information on our Benefits, please visit
    The salary for this position is $83,200 per annum.

    The closing date for this position is: Sunday, 26 April 2022 (midnight, NZ time)
    Applications will be reviewed after the close date.

    Pēhea te tono mai | How You Apply
    Applications for this position must be submitted on our careers website and should include a cover letter and resume.

    Please note, we do not accept applications by email, however we are happy to answer your queries in relation to the application process, please forward these to [email protected]

    For further information about the role, please contact Ian Dickie, [email protected].
    For overseas applicants, please visit Immigration New Zealand website or the New Zealand Government's official Covid-19 website, to review the latest health and visa requirements for visiting and working in New Zealand.

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