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Postdoctoral Fellow-Restoration Ecology

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America Req #235
Monday, February 10, 2020

Application: Please include a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references.  

The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) at the Missouri Botanical Garden seeks to hire two full-time postdoctoral scholars. The candidates will 1) develop and implement collaborative research project(s) that advance restoration science in woodlands, grasslands, and glades at MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve and the broader region; 2) train and mentor undergraduate and graduate students; 3) assist MBG scientists with coordinating grant-funded activities including recruitment and mentoring of students, organizing and participating in outreach events and workshops, and presenting lectures to professional organizations and the general public; 4) prepare and submit manuscripts for publication; 5) build relationships with SNR staff and collaborative partners; and 6) actively participate in events with the St. Louis Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation community.


MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve contains over 2,000 acres of fire-maintained woodlands, grasslands, and glades. Three decades of ecological restoration (i.e., selective tree thinning, removal of invasive species, prescribed fire, seeding of native species) has resulted in a chronosequence of restored natural areas at SNR. As part of this grant-funded project, new sites will be restored over the next three years. The successful candidates will be expected to develop new research projects related to their subject of interest, but focusing on past and/or future restorations at SNR. Research projects may also include other field sites and natural areas in the region. We anticipate hiring one postdoctoral fellow whose research focuses on the population genetics of restored populations and another whose research focuses on any of the following: plant community ecology, seed-based restoration, plant-soil interactions, and/or biological invasions. Floristic knowledge of Midwestern plant communities is desirable, but not required. The successful candidates will have opportunities to collaborate with MBG scientists active in conservation genetics, reintroduction biology, restoration ecology, global change biology, and community ecology. 


Candidates with a completed Ph.D. or that will soon graduate with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Botany, Restoration Science, Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, or a related field are encouraged to apply.  Ideal start time is before summer 2020, but this is negotiable.  The term for this grant-funded position will be up to 3 years, with renewal each year contingent on satisfactory performance.  Salary will be commensurate with experience, and this position includes a comprehensive benefits package.


The position will be based in St. Louis, where a vibrant community of ecologists, conservation practitioners, and evolutionary biologists that interact through partnerships among MBG, Washington University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Saint Louis University, plus other area institutions. The position will be seated in the CCSD, which explores and implements new, science-based approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity. CCSD’s strategies for conservation are based on a sound, scientific understanding of the occurrence and distribution of plants. CCSD applies the knowledge of plant diversity accumulated by Missouri Botanical Garden researchers over many years, making that knowledge usable for conservation planning and decision-making. Operating under the auspices of the Garden and as part of its division of Science and Conservation, CCSD builds upon the Garden’s institutional expertise, scientific programs, influence and resources.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Takes leadership role in developing and implementing research on the restoration of plant populations, communities, and ecosystems at MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve and other field sites and natural areas in the St. Louis region.

  • Conducts independent research and writes results for publication in peer reviewed journals. Works with the CCSD team in ongoing research projects.

  • Participate in scientific meetings and delivers lectures to professional organizations and to the general public as requested.

  • Attracts new scientific collaborators and develops partnerships with organizations.

  • Collaborates with staff in other relevant divisions of MBG to support complementary restoration activities, including (but not limited to) Shaw Nature Reserve, Education, and Horticulture Divisions.
  • Works within MBG established guidelines in preparing and monitoring grant proposal budgets.

  • Mentors and supervises students, interns, and volunteers working with a team of scientists.
  • Reviews scientific papers and grant proposals as requested.
  • May participate in the hiring and selection process of employees and volunteers.

  • Demonstrates highest level of professional and ethical conduct.

  • Adherence to all health and safety guidelines.

  • Behave & communicate in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork, cooperation, and respect within our division and throughout the Garden with all employees, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors and others. 


  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills; sound judgment/decisiveness.
  • Exceptional time management, planning, and organizational skills.

  • Excellent work quality and dependability; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.
  • Results oriented; strives to achieve or surpass objectives; works to improve performance with a commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Strong technical ability.

  • Good ability to work as part of a team,.

  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity. Strategic Thinking - Develops strategies to achieve positional goals; Understands department’s strengths & weaknesses; Adapts strategy to changing conditions.
  • Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.
  • Motivation - Sets and achieves challenging goals; Demonstrates persistence and overcomes obstacles; Measures self against standard of excellence; Takes calculated risks to accomplish goals.
  • Judgment - Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
  • Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to additional work hours when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings, as required.
  • Interpersonal - Focuses on solving conflict, not blaming; Maintains confidentiality; Listens to others without interrupting; Keeps emotions under control; Remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively, using correct spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.
  • Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
  • Safety and Security - Observes safety and security procedures; Determines appropriate action beyond guidelines; Reports potentially unsafe conditions; Uses equipment and materials properly.                         


  • Strong background including a minimum of (2) year’s prior experience or coursework in one or more of the following fields: restoration ecology, population genetics, conservation science, and community ecology.
  • Demonstrated ability including a minimum of (2) year’s experience using R.
  • Prior experience writing scientific papers, grant proposals and reports.
  • Strong knowledge of and interest in Midwestern native plant communities and natural history.
  • Demonstrated experience in seeking external funding.
  • Experience and deep skillset in experimental design and implementation, statistical analyses, synthesizing, interpreting, and communicating scientific information.        
  • Strong understanding of financial budget development/management and forecasting process to effectively manage grant’s budget.

  • Willingness and flexibility to conduct field work.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; professional, speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; responds well to questions; is tactful and treats others with respect.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively at all levels; working with diverse teams including international colleagues required.
  • Ability to travel (local/domestic) as needed, including occasional overnight travel.
  • The requirements and duties listed above are representative and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.

  • An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered. 


  • Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Botany, Restoration Science, Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, or a related field.        


Computer Skills: Proficient with Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).


Other Skills and Abilities:  Exceptional public speaking skills required.


Language Skills:  Ability to communicate effectively in English (oral/written).  Fluency in Spanish and/or French a plus.


Mathematical Skills: Proficient college math aptitude-ability to work with statistics.


Reasoning Ability:  Requires ability to conduct independent research and to actively participate in team work; apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to problem resolution; represent the interests and projects a positive image of the Missouri Botanical Garden


Certificates, Licenses, Registrations: 

·         Must be able to obtain and maintain a valid driver’s license.

·         Must be able to obtain and maintain a passport for international travel.

·         Must be able to obtain visas, vaccinations and immunizations for all countries where travel is required.


Physical Demands:

  • Ability to travel independently in economy class on airplanes, trains and other conveyances both domestic and international.

  • Ability to lift 35 lbs. and over.
  • Manual dexterity to use a computer keyboard for the purpose of accurately communicating, writing, and managing research data.
  • Ability to walk, stand, kneel, or climb as required and move about for extended periods of time.

  • Physical fitness necessary for field studies in difficult terrain.
  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights and at high altitudes.

  • Ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment, as needed. 

Work Environment:

  • Office and laboratory environment in St. Louis.  Work outdoors in temperatures of (100°F or more), humid conditions, as well as temperatures below 0°F, in rain, snow and other inclement weather conditions and some uncomfortable conditions (i.e. wet, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, etc.) as needed.      

Supervisory Responsibilities: This position will lead and direct the work activity of undergraduate and graduate students, interns, and fellows. This position will lead and direct volunteers and may participate on selection committees regarding other employees.   

Application: Please include a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references. 


Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America