Job Opportunities

Postdoctoral Research Associates in Coastal Wetland and Forest Biogeochemistry

Date posted: August 10, 2023

Annual salary: $64,957 plus benefits

Appointment term: 1-year minimum with potential renewal

Job Description

The Biogeochemistry and Global Change Ecology labs at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) are searching for two postdoctoral research associates to join highly-collaborative, interdisciplinary teams of biogeochemists, plant ecologists, and modelers working on two long-term experimental manipulations. We anticipate successful applicants for either position will have a strong background in biogeochemistry and a willingness to learn new skills.

Position 1 is to lead TEMPEST, a novel large-scale field manipulation in an upland coastal forest that mimics storm surge-driven intrusion of seawater and intensified precipitation. TEMPEST is part of the COMPASS-FME project led by Pacific Northwest National Lab.

Position 2 will join the team running SMARTX, a long-term experiment on the effects of warming and elevated CO2 on coastal wetland carbon cycling and marsh stability.


Successful candidates will have:

  • A PhD in physical or natural sciences awarded by the time the position starts
  • Experience in field or lab biogeochemistry methods
  • Experience with R, Fortran, python, or a related language

An ideal candidate could have one or more of the following:

  • Experience in forest or wetland ecosystems
  • Experience measuring rates of biogeochemical processes, both in situ and through incubations
  • Experience measuring nitrogen cycling, particularly the use of isotopes to study N mineralization
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate scientific knowledge through publications
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and in a highly collaborative team environment

How to Apply

Please send a 1-page cover letter describing your relative experience and qualifications (including which of the two positions you are applying for), a current cv, and the contact information for three references to Pat Megonigal ( by Oct. 15, 2023.

About SERC

SERC is a research center of the Smithsonian Institution, located on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, approximately 10 miles south of Annapolis, 40 miles west of Washington D.C., and 40 miles south of Baltimore. The 2,650-acre SERC campus contains a laboratory and office complex, as well as educational and waterfront facilities. The postdoctoral scientist will be hired as a ‘Trust Employee’ through Smithsonian’s non-profit wing, entitling them to health, vision, dental, and other benefits.

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 for this role will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences and background to this position. Competitive candidates will have many, but not necessarily all, of the listed qualifications and experiences. In addition:

  • The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact the Human Resources Specialist listed. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please review the Smithsonian’s Accommodation Procedures.
  • The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds supports and enhances our daily work life and contributes to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. For more information on the Smithsonian EEO program please see
  • Conditions of Employment are: (1) Pass a pre-employment background investigation, (2) Direct deposit/electronic funds transfer is required for salary payment, and (3) The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the United States. Proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. is not required to apply.