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Postdoctoral Scholar in Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Invasion Ecology

Position overview

Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar in Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Invasion Ecology
Salary range: Salary is based on the University of California Academic Salary Scales.
Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: July 1, 2021
Position duration: This is a full-time, one-year appointment with the possibility of renewal based on availability of funding, ongoing operational needs and satisfactory performance.

Application Window

Open date: April 6th, 2021

Next review date: Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, May 21, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

A full-time postdoctoral scholar position in hyperspectral remote sensing of invasion ecology is available at the University of California Merced. The focus of this research is to study the ecosystem engineering impacts of water primrose (Ludwigia spp.) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the landward end of the San Francisco Estuary. Water primrose is a highly invasive, non-native floating macrophyte in that, in recent years, has extended its niche into marsh habitat, causing extensive mortality of marsh vegetation. The goals of the project are to understand how water primrose invades and overtakes marsh as well as the factors that make marshes vulnerable to invasion. Hypothesized mechanisms include water primrose traits associated with growth strategy, its allelopathic properties, or factors related to marsh community structure. A main deliverable of the study is to identify and map the marshes most vulnerable to loss due to invasion and quantify the spatial trajectory of marsh loss due to invasion during the past 15 years. The postdoctoral position will be in the Earth Observation and Remote Sensing Lab in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Merced. The postdoctoral scholar will be based in Merced, California and will work under the supervision of the PI, Dr. Erin Hestir, in close collaboration with Dr. Shruti Khanna from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The postdoctoral scholar is expected to conduct field sampling for plant traits and community structure as well as analyze hyperspectral imagery collected from both piloted aircraft and UAV platforms. The postdoctoral scholar is expected to carry out research to map and quantify the spatial trajectory of marsh loss due to invasions and implement and develop research ideas to model and map landscape-level marsh loss vulnerability due to invasion with the guidance of the PI and Science Team.

The postdoctoral scholar is also expected to write research articles aimed at disseminating the results obtained from the research and present results to the scientific community and other stakeholder groups at regional and national meetings. The postdoctoral scholar is expected to participate in team-based collaborative science with project partners including the CDFW and the USGS, play an important role in mentoring and supervising undergraduate and graduate students, take an engaged role in project management (e.g., budget and timeline, quality assurance, EH&S), and undertake professional development activities in consultation with the PI to further the training and career advancement of the postdoc. Ability to operate campus vehicles under campus policy is required, as is occasional travel and/or alternative work schedules.

Position is open until filled with a final closing date of May 21, 2021.

For more information, please contact Dr. Erin Hestir at


Basic qualifications

    A Ph.D. (At the time of appointment) in the physical sciences (ecology, plant biology, geography, environmental science, etc.) or engineering (environmental, aerospace, optical) with a focus on ecological remote sensing, geospatial analytics or modeling. Expertise in hyperspectral remote sensing, landscape ecology, and spatial modeling is ideal. The successful candidate will have demonstrated strong collaborative skills and will have at least 1-2 first author peer review research papers.

    Technical skills include proficiency in programming for remote sensing image analysis, statistical modeling, graphics and visualization (e.g., Python, R, javascript), shell scripting and Linux command line tools.

Preferred qualifications

    The ideal candidate will have experience with high performance computing for image processing, particularly for imaging spectroscopy, and geospatial analysis and GIS software. Experience in UAS operations, and the possession of, or ability to obtain a FAA Remote Pilot license is preferred. Experience with field work and Wilderness First Aid and CPR/AED is an asset.

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)
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Campus Information

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

UC Merced is a smoke & tobacco free campus (

Job location

Merced, CA