Postdoctoral Research Associate (Ecology)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Fort Collins, CO, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 


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The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.




The Nature Conservancy’s Global Land’s Program is recruiting a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work with an interdisciplinary team to study the environmental effects of the changing fraction of animal-sourced food (notably meat and dairy) in global diets. The project seeks to understand the factors that influence the amount of meat and dairy we eat, and the consequences for population health. It will also explore the varying environmental consequences of different types of livestock production, which will be the main focus of this Post-doctoral position. An important goal of the project is to assess the effectiveness of different interventions and that will include developing models on the effects of different policies and providing tools for policy makers working in health, agriculture and the environment. Primary project partners include Oxford University’s Martin Programme on the Future of Food, the Wellcome Trust Our Planet Our Health Programme and The Nature Conservancy. Click here for more information.




The Postdoctoral Research Associate will integrate land use and economic models to evaluate how different economic drivers affect land conversion, and related outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystem services.  Statistically model the relationship between increasing animal based diets and global biodiversity metrics to determine where and under what circumstances changes in diet affects biodiversity and ecosystem function at a global scale. Within select geographic regions, examine the trade-offs and thresholds in the provision of agricultural production and biodiversity using spatial optimizations techniques. Within this scope, opportunities exist to develop and explore novel research questions of interest.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be a full-time employee of The Nature Conservancy.  This is a grant funded position for one year, with the potential to extend to four years.  He/she will be supervised by Joseph Kiesecker, Lead Scientist, and will interact closely with faculty at Oxford University (Project Directors Professors Charles Godfray & Susan Jebb), and TNC staff on the Global Lands Program as well as other TNC field based staff.





  • Develop landscape-scale models to understand how different national or local land use policies affect biodiversity and other ecosystem services. 
  • Spatially map responses of biodiversity and other ecosystem services under alternative policy scenarios.
  • Integrate detailed spatially-explicit models of agricultural production, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services to construct production possibility or efficiency frontiers that will allow the assessment of efficient combinations of agricultural land and natural habitat.
  • Disseminate research by publishing in peer-reviewed science journals, producing funder reports, presenting at national and/or international conferences, and communicating findings within conservation and academic communities.






  • A Ph.D. in Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, or related fields and 1 year work experience.
  • Demonstration of robust analytic and spatial skills. Strong background in statistical analysis software (R, Matlab, SAS). Programming background is strongly desired.
  • Familiarity with land use and land cover modelling and projecting future land use and land cover change also strongly desired.
  • Background in resource and landscape ecology and economics (preferred).
  • Familiarity with spatial optimization techniques, and landscape pattern analysis. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with a proven publication record, in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and the ability to write technical reports. 
  • Willingness to work with diverse stakeholders and to travel internationally if necessary.


  • Multi-language skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems software and Remote Sensing and (ENVI, ERDAS, ArcGIS, QGIS) and related programming/scripting environments (Python, IDL, EML).
  • Experience in agroecosystems and familiarity with related literature on agriculture and landscape metrics that impact biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Willingness to learn new statistical models and software as needed for research.
  • Ability to work effectively with an interdisciplinary team to meet deadlines. 
  • Highly motivated and capable of working independently to complete projects.
  • Strong organizational skills.




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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.