Postdoc Position: Quantitative ecology of invasive species


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Postdoc Position: Quantitative ecology of invasive species
Temple University, Philadelphia, USA

The Integrative Ecology Lab at Temple University is seeking creative and productive applicants for a postdoctoral researcher in quantitative invasion ecology. The position provides the opportunity to work in the epicenter of a recent invasion using combinations of data science and statistical modeling. The invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), which originates from China, was first introduced to the United States just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2014.  Since then, it has spread to more than 10 surrounding states. The spotted lanternfly invasion is a fascinating study system for invasion ecology: lanternflies feed on a wide range of host plant species, thrive in urban landscapes yet are agricultural pests, spread via a mix of natural and human-assisted dispersal, and appear to have few natural enemies within their invaded range. The Integrative Ecology Lab is researching the factors that influence how the spotted lanternfly is spreading in collaboration with researchers from Penn State University, Purdue University, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and others.

The researcher will leverage an existing big database of spotted lanternfly surveys to produce statistical models of spread dynamics. The researcher will also collaborate with mathematicians on combining statistical and mechanistic models to produce an ensemble forecast of future spread dynamics, identify invasion pathways, and inform control actions. The postdoc would work closely with a team of professors, postdocs, and graduate students working on spotted lanternfly at Temple. The postdoc would also interact with teams of scientists, government agencies, and public stakeholders and would regularly attend working groups and meetings on this invasive pest. Finally, the postdoc would contribute to a dashboard of online applications that communicate research findings to stakeholders. Our team is just beginning to understand the spotted lanternfly’s pattern of spread and potential to disrupt agricultural and natural ecosystems. You can be at the forefront of cross-disciplinary modeling research on this emerging invasion and conduct research that has a societal impact.

The postdoc will be advised by Matthew Helmus. Dr. Helmus jointly runs the Integrative Ecology Lab with the mission to integrate biodiversity science with human ecology to understand contemporary patterns of biodiversity and its functioning within ecosystems. To read more about the lab’s research see publications and news. The position is for one year, with extensions to additional years dependent on performance. The expected start date is June 1 but can be modified dependent on the candidate’s availability. A competitive salary and benefits package are provided.

Expertise in quantitative ecology, statistical modeling, GIS, ecoinformatics, and/or data science is required. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in Biology, Ecology, Data Science, 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.

To apply:
Applications should be emailed to Dr. Helmus ( Please send it as a single PDF:

– Cover letter outlining qualifications, experience, and why you are interested in the position
– Curriculum vitae
– Name, affiliations, phone numbers, and email addresses of three references

The review of applications will begin on March 31, 2023.

Academic Setting
The Integrative Ecology Lab is located within Temple’s Center for Biodiversity and housed in a LEED-Gold certified building on Temple’s main campus in historic Philadelphia. Temple University, founded in 1884, is a public R1 university with a diverse student body of ca. 40,000 students. Within the US, it is the sixth largest provider of graduate school education and is within the top 4% of research institutions.

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States, filled with numerous attractions (e.g., Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Zoo, Academy of Natural Sciences), amazing food, and 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 New Jersey Pine Barren ecosystem, and the beaches of the Delaware and New Jersey shores.

Temple University is an equal opportunity, equal access, affirmative action employer committed to achieving a diverse community.

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