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How to Apply

This position start date is January 15, 2022, but is flexible and could start at another time in the Winter or possibly later. To apply please combine a CV and a cover letter (max 2 pages) describing your qualifications for the position. Review of applications will begin October 22, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. Women and under-represented minorities are encouraged to apply. The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer. Questions about the position can be addressed to Dr. Neil Carter (

Job Summary

We seek a postdoctoral scholar for an exciting new NASA-funded project investigating the effects of vegetation structure and water stress on the behaviors and demographics of large mammal species in the western United States. The successful candidate will assist with 1) synthesizing large datasets in a geospatial modeling framework; 2) developing and implementing models that relate NASA Earth Observation data with spatial databases of animal locations and demographic parameters; 3) analyzing and visualizing model outputs to share with wildlife-management agency partners and other decision makers; and 4) writing scientific, peer-reviewed publications. The successful candidate will be advised by Dr. Neil Carter and located at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS, Ann Arbor campus). The position is for 24 months, with the possibility of extension based on performance, need and funding. 

In water-limited environments, patterns and intensity of habitat use, as well as behaviors such as foraging, travel, migration, and resting all depend on food and water availability, connectivity, and thermal landscape characteristics. The dry-temperate regions of the western United States encompass a substantial gradient in vegetation structure and water demand and harbor a number of large mammal species, including mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep, and their principal predator, the cougar. All of these species are ecologically important, migrate across ecoregional and jurisdictional boundaries, and are the focus of large-scale, multi-state, conservation efforts. The successful candidate will apply ecological datasets based on the NASA Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) and ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) in spatial predictions of fitness costs and benefits for each of these important migratory herbivores and their principal predator. The candidate will also work closely with various organizations such as state wildlife agencies and USFS.


  • Fit spatial models combining GEDI and ECOSTRESS-derived covariates with in situ observations of natality, mortality, survival, home-range area, functional behaviors, and movement types;
  • Produce spatial predictive surfaces of wildlife habitats, behaviors, and demographic parameters;
  • Work in a team and help build a geospatial framework for future applications.
  • Work closely with wildlife managers to discuss model outputs and inform decision making.
  • Helping write scientific and annual reports, as requested.

Required Qualifications*

PhD (by start time of position) in Conservation, Ecology, Geography, Natural Resources, Wildlife Sciences or related field, from an accredited university. Competitive applicants will have strong numerical and statistical modeling background and experience with computer programming and coding (e.g., R, Python), GIS and remote sensing applications, analyzing large datasets, and working in collaborative teams. Strong written and verbal communication skills and a demonstrated ability to work both in a team environment and independently are required.

Desired Qualifications*

Preference will be given to candidates who have experience with development of wildlife habitat and movement models, for example, Hidden Markov Models and integrated Step Selection Functions. Preference will also be given to scholars with a proven publication record.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled at any time after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working or learning remotely.  More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.