Ecological Remote Sensing Scientist Postdoctoral Scholar

UC Davis Institute of the Environment
Davis, California
Commensurate on experience level with a minimum salary of $55,632, benefits included.
Closing date
Aug 27, 2022

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Biogeosciences, Global Environmental Change
Career Level
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

Dr. Susan Ustin’s lab in the Institute of the Environment at University of California, Davis is seeking an ecologist or environmental scientist with expertise in remote sensing to conduct innovative research at the frontier of using remote sensing and geospatial data science to study ecological function and feedbacks.

This position will lead research in collaboration with a large interdisciplinary team to advance our understanding of aquatic ecosystem change and develop new techniques for assessing ecosystems and predicting future change. The postdoctoral scholar will:
• Investigate how drought, climate change, and management actions have contributed to regional plant community changes, including distribution and biomass of native and invasive aquatic macrophytes in the hub of California’s water system.
• Lead research to identify the biological/ecological processes that lead to or cause changes in ecosystem function, such as temporal or spatial changes in functional traits of aquatic macrophytes and mechanisms underlying a regime shift.
• Leverage a 20-year record of high spatial resolution hyperspectral remote sensing data and accompanying field data and other data sources such as water quality sensor networks, monitoring from management and restoration programs, and hydrology, weather and climate data.
• Develop predictive models for how aquatic macrophytes will respond to future drought conditions and management actions.
• Work collaboratively with a dynamic team of researchers from the University of California Davis, the University of California Merced, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Geological Survey.

• Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all health and safety protocols in the laboratory, field and on campus as required.
• Submit daily symptom tracking as required.
• Working in a computer laboratory or field settings which require sitting and/or standing for multiple hours processing data and samples.
• Crouch, stoop, reach, bend, lift, carry up to 20 lbs of research equipment in lab or field.
• Work in varied temperatures; including hot summer temperatures, e.g. Valley/Delta temperatures that may exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit to collect samples in San Francisco Estuary.

• Work hours are normally Monday – Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm or 9:00am to 6:00pm, but with flexibility to alter working hours to accommodate field data collection or because of specific project needs.
• Ability to work effectively in a shared workspace environment.
• Occasional travel to designated field sites of project or to meetings with State Agency personnel, typically offices in downtown Sacramento.
• Current and valid Driver's License with good driving record.

Commensurate on experience level with a minimum salary of $55,632, benefits included for 12 months duration appointment at full time of 100%. 24 work days of paid time off per year, 12 days of sick leave per year and 14 paid University holidays per year.


• Ph.D. in ecology, environmental science, or related disciplines.
• Motivation and ability to conduct leading edge research, learn new skills, and collaborate across disciplines and institutions.
• Expertise in spatial data analysis (GIS, remote sensing) and management of large datasets and databases.
• Experience with or knowledge of statistical methods for time series analysis and/or modeling.
• Track record of scholarly publications and oral communications.
• Strong programming background (e.g., Matlab, Python, R, GDAL, SQL, Java, IDL).
• Proficient with GIS and image processing software applications.
• Capability to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary research team.
• Excitement and ability to work effectively in a diverse team and research environment.


• Experience with hyperspectral image processing.
• Ability to perform complex geoprocessing and manipulate large datasets using personally developed and other scripts.
• Experience with machine learning and statistical modeling.
• Ability to synthesize complex information and develop structured analyses in written and visual form.
• Field work experience in aquatic/marine ecosystems including the use of small boats.

UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco-free campus (

We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at:

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is committed to inclusive excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. UC Davis celebrates the multi-cultural diversity of its community by creating a welcoming and inclusive environment demonstrated through a variety of resources and programs available to academics, staff, and students. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values of UC Davis that are embedded within our Principles of Community and are tied with how to best serve our student population. Our excellence in research, teaching, and service can best be fully realized by members of our academic community who share our commitment to these values, which are included in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision, our strategic plan: “To Boldly Go,” our Principles of Community, the Office of Academic Affairs’ Mission Statement, and the UC Board of Regents Policy 4400: Policy on University of California Diversity Statement. UC Davis is making important progress towards our goal of achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers a plethora of resources on their website, and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HEDI) has outlined similar goals in their Anti-Racism and DEI Action Plan.” There are a plethora of links available on the About Us webpage where you can learn more about our Administration, Diversity and Inclusion, Rankings, Locations, Native American Land Acknowledgement, Sustainability, Visiting UC Davis, UC Davis Health, and Campus Safety.

The university is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the world for campus sustainability practices by the UI Green Metric World University Rankings. UC Davis is focused on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and repeatedly shown its commitment to preserving a healthy and sustainable environment for generations to come.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy. All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

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