Postdoc position: Mathematical modeling of invasive species population dynamics

The Integrative Ecology Lab at Temple University is seeking creative and productive applicants for a postdoctoral researcher conducting mathematical modeling of invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) population dynamics.  The spotted lanternfly is an invasive Asian planthopper that was first introduced to the US outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2014, and has since spread to five nearby states. In addition to natural spread, human-assisted lanternfly spread occurs during all life stages: adults and nymphs hitchhike on cars and it can spread long distances in the egg stage because it lays eggs on mobile outdoor objects like recreational vehicles and landscaping materials. It feeds on over 70 plant species, sometimes at very high densities, including economically important species like maples, apples, hops, and grapes. Invaded vineyards have lost entire crops, affecting wine production. We are just beginning to model its pattern of spread and potential to disrupt agricultural and natural ecosystems. Billions of dollars are under threat. You can be at the forefront of cross-disciplinary modeling research on this emerging invasion.

The position will be co-advised by Matthew Helmus (Biology) and Benjamin Seibold (Math) at Temple University. Helmus jointly runs the Integrative Ecology Lab (iEcoLab) with the mission to integrate biodiversity science with human ecology to understand contemporary patterns of biodiversity and its functioning within ecosystems (  Seibold directs the Center for Computational Mathematics and Modeling (C2M2) on cross-disciplinary research in applied and computational mathematics ( To read more about their spotted lanternfly research see The postdoc would work closely with two other postdocs and two graduate students also working on spotted lanternfly at Temple. Finally, the postdoc would interact with a USDA funded multi-university team of cross-disciplinary scientists and public stakeholders and would regularly attend working groups and meetings on this invasive pest.

Expertise in mathematical modeling, partial differential equations, numerical methods, and programming is required. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in Biology, Mathematics, Physics, or other related fields. Most importantly, the successful applicant will be well-organized, able to work both independently and in a team setting, and motivated to learn. This position is ideal for those craving a career in the exciting, fast-paced world of biodiversity science.

Applications should be emailed to both Dr. Helmus ( and Dr. Seibold ( Please send as a single PDF:

– Cover letter outlining qualifications, experience and why you are interested in the position
– Curriculum vitae including links to authored publications
– Name, phone number, and email addresses of three references

iEcolLab is in a new LEED-Gold certified building in historic Philadelphia. iEcoLab is part of the Center for Biodiversity, which provides state-of-the-art biodiversity research facilities along with support staff with expertise in media development, GIS technology, high-performance computing, and genetics. Temple University, founded in 1884, is a public R1 university with a diverse student body of ca. 40,000 students. It is the sixth-largest provider of graduate school education in the U.S.A., is within the top 4% of research institutions in the U.S. and is in the top ten of the fastest gainers in ranking by the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges.

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States. It is filled with numerous attractions (e.g., Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Zoo, Academy of Natural Sciences), amazing food, and it is a quick train ride to New York City and Washington DC. Philadelphia is nestled within an extensive national/state trail and park system and is very close to Valley Forge National Park, the Pocono Mountains, the unique Pine Barren ecosystem, and beaches of the Atlantic shore.

Temple University is an equal opportunity, equal access, affirmative action employer committed to achieving a diverse community. iEcoLab believes the crisis in biological diversity can only be addressed by scientists from diverse backgrounds and with diverse viewpoints. iEcoLab and C2M2 strongly encourages applications with such diversity.


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