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Postdoctoral Associate

Date posted: December 7, 2022

Starting salary: $64,000 (estimated) plus benefits

SERC is seeking a postdoctoral associate with strong quantitative skills to participate in an NSF-funded study examining how the tree microbiome (i.e., the fungi and bacteria in tree leaves and roots) affects tree productivity, tree metabolomics, and tree-herbivore interactions in BiodiversiTREE, a tree diversity-function experiment. The postdoc will assist with microbiome sample collection, processing, and analyses, including bioinformatics of DNA sequence and/or metabolomic data. DNA and metabolomics data will be analyzed in both multivariate and mixed model approaches, and then ultimately synthesized with tree productivity data in structural equation models. This is a collaboration between the labs of John Parker and Melissa McCormick at SERC, Karin Burghardt at the University of Maryland, Kim Komatsu at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Eric Griffin at Warren Wilson College, and Brian Sedio at University of Texas Austin. The postdoc will have opportunities to interact with collaborators on a separate but related NSF project, including Stephanie Kivlin at the University of Tennessee, Rich Phillips at Indiana University, Songlin Fei at Purdue University, Liz LaRue at University of Texas El Paso, and Grant Domke at USFS. Collaborative opportunities also exist with a companion BiodiversiTREE experiment at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and the global consortium of tree diversity experiments in TreeDivNet.

Appointment Type: Term appointment for 1 year, with the second year of funding contingent upon satisfactory progress. (This is not a Federal position)

Deadline: Open until filled. Review of applications will begin immediately. We anticipate a start date in early summer 2023.

Location: This position is based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland. The SERC campus contains nearly 2,700 acres of forest, agricultural areas, wetlands, and streams, and sits directly on the Rhode River estuary on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. SERC is a research center of the Smithsonian Institution and is located close to the historic seaport of Annapolis, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, with numerous nearby universities and ample opportunities for work and play.

The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the US. The SERC community recognizes the value of diversity in promoting innovative science and creative solutions, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We recognize that each applicant will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and background to these positions. The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital/parental/caregiver status, and disability.

To apply, please send the following as a single PDF document to both John Parker and Melissa McCormick (, Curriculum Vitae, cover letter summarizing relevant experience, and the names and full contact information (email, phone, postal address) of three references.