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Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Laramie WY

Understanding the mechanisms governing and data establishing amphibian occupancy is of critical importance for meeting current management goals of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), US Forest Service, and other agencies in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain region. Many amphibian species are species of conservation concern while and others have insufficient data to draw robust conclusions on status.

The Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project (RMAP; https://www.wyobiodiversity.org/Initiatives-Programs/CitSci/rocky-mountain-amphibian-project) is a collaborative effort to monitor amphibians across the mountains of Wyoming and northern Colorado. RMAP operates in partnership with the Biodiversity Institute, United States Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, and the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center. The program goal was to design and implement a long-term program to monitor trends in amphibian occupancy for all local species. The program uses multiple independent visual surveys conducted by trained community scientists and agency biologists or technicians at each site to estimate detection rates (how often do you see them if they are actually there) and then corrects occupancy estimates for bias due to imperfect detection of species.

Standardized surveys at established monitoring sites (~350 wetlands across ~75 catchments) have occurred annually since 2012 on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and since 2014 on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Overall, the program has been highly successful and no declines in naïve occupancy have been detected; however, detailed occupancy modelling analyses have not been conducted since 2015. Although stable amphibian populations within the study area would be reassuring, lack of ability to detect trends given current data (sample size, assessing trends at the catchment vs. wetland level) is an alternative explanation. In addition, if populations are stable, understanding mechanism(s) governing amphibian persistence is essential for maintaining those populations into the future. Occurrence of amphibian species can be maintained through spatial and temporal variation of habitat (), sustaining vital rates in the presence of disease, and recolonization of unoccupied habitats.

We are hiring a Post-doctoral Research Associate, with funding from the UW Biodiversity Institute, to study processes limiting amphibian persistence using existing RMAP data, continued data collection in conjunction with community scientists, and environmental DNA. The position requires a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline (or near completion (ABD)), experience with field-based amphibian monitoring (or similar efforts), application of data science for management and analysis of a moderate-term monitoring dataset, environmental DNA and experience in R. This post-doc will be in the Landscape Ecology and Ecological Genetics laboratory of Dr. Melanie Murphy in conjunction with Dr. Wendy Estes-Zumpf from Wyoming Game and Fish Department.



Field-based sampling of amphibians using visual and eDNA methods under harsh field conditions

Conduct genetic laboratory work with low quality and low quantity samples

Statistical analysis in R including occupancy modeling

Manage large database of citizen science data and biologist collected data

Manage and coordinate community scientists

Write proposals for extramural funding, scientific papers for peer review, writing for public dissemination

Present scientific information to general and scientific audiences

Manage field crew

Communicate with diverse stakeholders including agencies (local, state, federal), university and public

Drive university vehicles on US Forest Service roads



Ph.D. in a relevant discipline (will consider All But Defended applicants (ABD))

Experience with field-based amphibian monitoring or similar efforts

Strong statistical and analytical skills

Ability to work independently under harsh field conditions

Database management

Experience in R

Evidence of strong written and oral communication skills

Valid driver's license with a motor vehicle record (MVR) that is compliant with the University Official Vehicle Policy found at: https://www.uwyo.edu/risk/_files/docs/offical-vehicle-policy.pdf



Experience with publication of first authored peer reviewed scientific papers

Occupancy modeling

Amphibian monitoring

Quantitative PCR

Low quality/low quantity DNA samples

Data science

Community science efforts

Evidence of extramural funding.



Complete the online application and upload a single PDF file containing a cover letter, CV, contact information for three references, and two papers describing recent research. Review of applications will continue until a suitable applicant is identified.



UW is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Educator and Employer. We are committed to a multicultural environment and strongly encourage applications from women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities.

In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation to apply for a position, please call 307-766-2237 or email jobapps@uwyo.edu.



Posted June 23, 2020

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