Postdoctoral Researcher, Oak Population Genomics| Morton Arboretum

Agricultural Research Postdoctoral Researcher, Oak Population Genomics| Morton Arboretum

Deadline: Open Until Filled

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned nonprofit botanic garden dedicated to the study, growth, and conservation of trees. The Arboretum’s Plant Systematics Lab and Herbarium seek a highly motivated individual to conduct population-level genomic and phylogenomic research on bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and related species of eastern North America.

The research is part of a US-China international collaboration funded by the US NSF, investigating the effects of genomic diversity, functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity, and introgressive hybridization on oak symbiont communities.

In addition to interacting with the collaborative team in the Center for Tree Science at The Morton Arboretum, the postdoctoral researcher will also be supported by a diverse network of partners at Duke University, Fort Collins Science Center, U of MN, and U of OK; and have opportunities to work with collaborators South China Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In this project and all of our work at The Morton Arboretum, we strive to be inclusive, work together, and keep learning so that we can make the Arboretum exceptional.

I. Position Summary

  • Conduct population-level genomic and phylogenomic research related to the U.S. National Science Foundation project, “Consequences of diversity in Asian and American tree syngameons for functional variation, adaptation and symbiont biodiversity.”
  • The goal of the project is to reconstruct the genomic mosaic of differentiation and introgression in the eastern North American white oak syngameon and evaluate how introgression, phylogeny, and genetic variation within species shape oak traits and symbiont communities.
  • Support for professional development, conference attendance, and opportunities to expand the candidate’s research network are also provided.
  • Funding for this position is temporary and is expected to run for 30 months.

II. Essential Functions

  • Analyze a ca. 700-individual resequencing dataset of oaks, to characterize the genomic architecture of species differentiation and (potentially adaptive) introgression.
  • Collaborate in analyses that integrate genomic, functional, and phylogenetic data with data on oak symbionts to characterize how oak diversity shapes biotic communities.
  • Identify genomic regions associated with adaptation to climate and collaborate in analyses relating these to tree performance in replicated common gardens.
  • Collaborate with a large group of American and Chinese researchers in characterizing common and divergent processes and patterns in the oak syngameons of eastern North American and eastern China.
  • Participate in maintaining a replicated common garden and collecting data from it.
  • Assist in collecting material for extraction and measurement, and herbarium specimens, from wild populations, as needed. 
  • Assist with data curation and archiving of genomic data. 
  • Conduct literature research and other independent learning as needed to accomplish tasks associated with the project and keep abreast of new scientific advances.
  • Prepare and submit scientific articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals, as well as other analyses needed by the partnership. 
  • Participate in public outreach and data sharing efforts to promote and expand the general impact of the project. 
  • Participate in the Herbarium and Plant Systematics lab group by mentoring early-career scientists, students and interns and being an active lab member through lab meetings and collaboration in supplementary projects as needed.
  • Contribute to the Science and Conservation department through collaboration, providing scientific input and guidance, and engaging in departmental activities such as Monday Tree Talks and occasional discussion and planning meetings. 
  • Other duties as assigned.

III. Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in a biological field required, with expertise in comparative analysis of genomes, population genomics or phylogenomics, and hybridization or speciation.
  • Strong skills in bioinformatics and coding are required; experience in analysis of genomic data from natural populations strongly preferred. Basic understanding of botany/plant biology.
  • A successful track record as an emerging research scientist including demonstrated communication with academic and professional audiences through publications, presentations and/or other media, and a commitment to conducting relevant and timely research is required. 

IV. Success Factors

  • Strong analytical abilities.
  • Self-motivated, with the initiative and resourcefulness to implement, evaluate, and report on research projects.
  • Desire to conduct interdisciplinary research with other scientists.
  • Ability to work and communicate with a dispersed team.
  • Ability to write manuscripts for high-impact peer-reviewed scientific journals and communicate results to a broad audience.
  •  Ability to embrace and operate in line with our employee core values to take ownership, work together, keep learning, and make the Arboretum exceptional.

V. Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: walking over varied terrain, bending, limited lifting and carrying (up to 30 lbs. assisted). Use of chemicals may be necessary. Ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment required. Some local and regional travel. Some travel nationally and internationally is required, including visits each year with project collaborators. 
  • Work Environment: Office environment, lab environments, Arboretum grounds, and off-site locations. Work is performed indoors and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Equipment: General office equipment, field and laboratory equipment, including specialized equipment relating to particular field of research, Arboretum pick-up truck and/or utility vehicle.
  • Schedule: Work may require occasional evening and weekend hours.

How to Apply?

  • To Apply, Please Click HERE 
  • Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Morton Arboretum is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. All employment decisions at The Morton Arboretum are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, past or present military service, or any other characteristic protected by law. The purpose of this Self-Identification Form is to comply with federal government record-keeping and reporting requirements, and to ensure equal employment opportunity at The Morton Arboretum. The data you provide on this form will be kept confidential and used solely for analytical and reporting requirement purposes. When reported, data will not identify any specific individuals. Moreover, this information will be kept separate from your application.

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