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Program Vegetation Ecologist

University of Alaska

Anchorage ,  Alaska
Botany Ecology

At ACCS this position will manage the Vegetation Ecology Program and serve as PI on several extramurally­funded projects. The Vegetation Ecology Program assesses the distribution, status, and trend of vegetation types across Alaska. This includes writing ecological description, classification, mapping, and evaluation of vegetation types ranging from community-scale plant associations to landscape-scale biophysical settings. Some of the ongoing projects include identifying ecosystems and plant associations of conservation concern, delineating plant associations/assemblages, landcover mapping, arctic and boreal vegetation monitoring, and vegetation classification (specifically the crafting of the mid- and lower-level vegetation units of the National Vegetation Classification as they apply to arctic and boreal Alaska).

Knowledge/ Abilities/ Skills:

  • Expert-level plant ecological knowledge of northern systems and working knowledge of Alaska's geography, landscape, flora, and ecosystems.
  • Ability to oversee the ACCS Vegetation Ecology program, including budgets and research staff; ability to coordinate and manage multiple tasks, meet deadlines, lead projects, interpret and apply complex rules and regulations, and develop long range strategic plans. Write proposals and prepare budgets for extramural funding for the ACCS Vegetation Ecology Program. Pursue additional avenues for extramural funding
  • Knowledge of research methods and analytical procedures to design plant community ecology/vegetation projects, manage data, analyze and interpret results; ability to solve complex ecological research questions using statistical analysis, knowledge of ecological principles, and literature. Serve as Principal Investigator: track budgets, manage travel encumbrances and manage personnel for externally funded projects.
  • Ability to conduct field-based plant ecological research in wilderness settings, including prefield season planning of projects, data collection procedures, obtaining necessary permits, staffing needs, travel and remote access logistics, processing of specimens, selecting and buying equipment needed for field studies and travel arrangements. Solve complex plant ecological research questions and/or experience in classification of northern terrestrial biomes using statistical analysis (multivariate approaches), knowledge of ecological principles and literature.
  • Ability to develop proposals for extramural funding and implement research projects; knowledge of fiscal methods and fiscal restrictions associated with research monies; ability to interpret and apply complex rules and regulations.
  • Skills in publishing in refereed journals and communication of research findings to the public and other scientists. Excellent writing and communication skills Write papers and reports describing methods, collections and results for funding agencies and scientific journals.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with biologists, conservation professionals, and resource managers of varying technical levels and with technical and scientific staff. Work collaboratively with staff and database administrators to conduct projects such as developing an Alaska rare ecosystems database, as well as respond to data requests from the public, agencies, and industry.
  • Oversee vegetation ecology fieldwork, including pre-field season planning of projects, data collection procedures, obtaining necessary permits, staffing needs, travel and remote access logistics, processing of specimens collected in the field, creating and preparing field data forms, selecting and buying equipment needed for field studies and travel arrangements. Work with other staff to ensure safe and efficient work conditions in remote places in Alaska. Network with other researchers and collaborate with agencies with others in the regional and/or broader scientific community.
  • Serve on university or regional committees as assigned, or in areas of interest.
  • Preferred knowledge, skills, and abilities include: strong skills in Alaskan floristics, experienced in soil ecology, fire ecology, experience with remote sensing and vegetation mapping. 

Required Experience:
4 years of postgraduate experience in the field of plant ecology.

Typical Education or Training:
Masters or Ph.D. in Biological Science, Natural Resource Management, Ecology, or related field.

Minimal Qualifications:

  • Complete application: cover letter, comprehensive resume, and three professional references. 
  • Holds a Master's degree in ecology, biology, natural resource management, environmental science, or conservation biology or foreign equivalent/4+ years of experience in the field, or holds a Ph.D. degree in ecology, biology, natural resource management, environmental science, or conservation biology or foreign equivalent.
  • Authorized to work in the US.
  • Experience in terrestrial plant ecology research using field-based methodologies.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze plant community or plant ecological data and pursue terrestrial plant ecology research.
  • Demonstrated experience in report writing, scholarly manuscript preparation, and project management.


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