Skip to content

Job Opportunity: Postdoc in Quantitative Plant Ecology, Yale University

Postdoctoral Research Position – Quantitative Plant Ecology

Comita Lab – School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University

A postdoctoral position is available in the lab of Dr. Liza Comita ( to work on an NSF-funded project to examine mechanisms of species coexistence in diverse tropical tree communities. The objectives of the project are to:
(1) determine the key abiotic and biotic drivers of tropical tree seedling performance,
(2) assess how the relative importance of those drivers varies along a strong rainfall gradient in central Panama,
(3) link data on plant functional traits to species’ responses to environmental variables within and across sites along the rainfall gradient, and ultimately
(4) develop novel forest simulation models, parameterized with field data, to assess the relative importance and combined influence of abiotic factors and biotic interactions on tropical tree species diversity.

The position will involve extensive statistical analysis of spatially-explicit, long-term tropical forest dynamics data, as well as travel to field sites in Panama to oversee data collection. The successful applicant will join a productive and supportive lab group and will benefit from the large scientific community and excellent resources on campus. The postdoc will gain skills in data analysis and scientific communication and will also have opportunities to mentor undergraduate and graduate students and gain teaching experience (if desired). 

Qualifications:  Applicants should have a PhD in Ecology or a related field (by the start date), with strong quantitative skills. Excellent knowledge of R is essential, and experience with Bayesian models is strongly preferred. A demonstrated track record of publication is required. Excellent written and oral communication and inter-personal skills are essential.

Duration and start date: The initial appointment is for one year, with funding available for up to two additional years depending on performance. The position can start as early as June 1, 2019 and as late as January 6, 2020.

Compensation: Salary will be based on Yale’s postdoctoral compensation scale, which ranges from $47,960 for first year postdocs to $54,770 for postdocs having up to 5 years of prior postdoctoral experience. Full details on postdoctoral compensation and benefits can be found here:

To apply: Applications, including a CV, cover letter stating research interests and experience, and the names and contact information of three references, should be sent by email to Dr. Liza Comita at Informal inquiries are also welcome via email.  Review of applications will begin May 13, 2019 and continue until a suitable candidate is found.

Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes applications from women, members of minority groups, persons with disabilities and protected veterans.