CIRES/ EARTH LAB Carbon Dynamics across Disturbance Legacies in Western U.S. Forests Post-Doc

Earth Lab is seeking a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar to lead a research agenda in the following area: Carbon Dynamics across Disturbance Legacies in Western U.S. Forests. This targeted research area represents Earth Lab’s efforts to explore natural and social system vulnerability and resilience to global environmental change, while also capitalizing on the diversity of data available to generate new insights. 


This role will help answer whether the trajectory of carbon recovery in burned forests is changing with increased regional warming and drying. Emergent technologies and methods from Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) allow construction of 3D-point-cloud representations of trees that can enable rapid monitoring of forest structure at sub-meter resolution across very large tracts (thousands of hectares)—effectively providing a missing scale of observations. With this and other advances, regional to continental scale ecology now requires exploration of large, heterogeneous data. Key efforts of this postdoc will be to: 


Apply emerging UAS technologies and methods to estimate tree-level aboveground biomass to then explore carbon recovery post-fire in the NEON southern Rockies domain.


Explore fundamental drivers of carbon recovery post-disturbance across a chronosequence of fire history in conifer forests of the western U.S. (1984-present).


Help to train the next generation of Earth analysts in data and computer-intensive science, cutting-edge ecosystem carbon measuring techniques, and large-team collaboration. 


This effort will accomplish these aims by testing hypotheses and deriving trainings from exploration of a vertical column of observations, including aboveground biomass data from: field-based inventories, UAS, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) airborne observation platform (including the local Niwot Ridge NEON/LTER site), and the space-borne Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation. The postdoc will conduct research and contribute to teaching a new graduate-level course in ecosystem carbon. This position is funded as part of a new NSF CAREER grant.


Work with the team to meet research goals of this position, with the expectation of submitting one manuscript for publication to a peer-reviewed journal by the end of Year 1, and contribute to and/or submit an independent funding proposal.

Use research agenda to develop use cases for the Analytics Hub (staff and Viz-studio) with heterogeneous and/or big data streams that require specialized data management, analysis, and/or visualization support (with emphasis on data from the Earth Observation enterprise, from ground-based to space-based sensors).

Contribute to discussions with industry, federal, and other academic partners, and support opportunities to make Earth Lab visible in the community.

Contribute to the open, reproducible science objectives of Earth Lab. This could include contributing or publishing well-documented data sets or code recipes that could serve multiple users within Earth Lab or other audiences.

Work on synergistic activities across the post-doc cohort and Science Teams, including collaboration on external proposals, papers, workshops, opportunities with industry/federal partners, or other collaborative activity and should amount to 20% effort.

What You Should Know

This position is located at the University of Colorado at Boulder's main campus

All postdoc positions are for one year with the possibility of extension based on performance and funding availability.

Review of applications will begin October 18. The position will remain open until filled.

What We Can Offer

We can offer a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package.


Ph.D. in a related field is required, such as Geography, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Remote Sensing, or other.

Previous experience and skills in one or more of the approaches described in the job summary (e.g., UAV data acquisition and approaches, remote sensing data, data integration across multiple sources, etc.).


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Application Materials

To apply, please submit the following materials:

Resume or CV

Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position. Please highlight your past research and teaching experience related t this position.

List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation for you. 

If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.


Review of applications will begin October 18. The position will remain open until filled.


Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Job Number


Date Posted

Wednesday, September 25, 2019