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NatureNet postdoc opportunities for environmental flows in California

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The Nature Conservancy and UCLA have opportunities available for a 2-year fully-funded postdoc position through the NatureNet Science Fellows program, to work on projects related to environmental flows in California.  Interested applicants can apply for one of two projects, both are co-mentored by Julie Zimmerman, Lead Freshwater Scientist-California Chapter, and Richard Ambrose, University of California-LA.

Project 1: Predicting observed instream flows for ungaged streams in California (Freshwater)-Managing stream flows for ecological outcomes requires understanding the natural flow regime, the current (observed) flow regime, and flows needed to achieve ecological objectives. We have developed an approach to predict natural (unimpaired) flow metrics for all streams and rivers in California (gaged and ungaged) and are currently modifying that approach to develop environmental flow recommendations statewide. However, we do not have a method to accurately predict observed flows for all streams in California. Estimates of observed flows are required to determine the type and degree of alteration to instream flows and prioritize management actions to add water back instream when and where it is needed. TNC

Project 2: Refine California’s statewide environmental flow recommendations though development of flow-ecology relationships for key species and communities (Freshwater)-We have advanced an approach to develop environmental flow recommendations that will apply to all streams and rivers in California, both gaged and ungaged, based on functional flow metrics that characterize key components of the natural hydrograph. Under a proposed 2-tiered environmental flows framework for California, the functional flows approach can be further refined according to ecological and water management objectives. Further refinement would require identification of objectives and flow-ecology relationships that can illustrate trade-offs between flow and ecological outcomes. How can we best develop flow-ecology relationships to inform refinement of flow recommendations for California streams? This could be accomplished as a state-wide analysis, for a particular stream class or classes, or as a case study of one or more watersheds.

To apply: The NatureNet program requires an application package that includes a 2-page research proposal that is developed in collaboration with the postdoc mentors. Because of this proposal requirement, we will have a pre-selection process to choose a candidate that we will work with on the proposal.

If you are interested in applying, please send the following to Julie Zimmerman (

  • A cover letter that includes a statement of your research interests, a brief statement of qualifications, your interest in the NatureNet program, and how your interests, skills, and experience qualify you to work on this project
  • A Curriculum Vitae

We will identify a candidate by early August and will collaborate with that candidate to complete the NatureNet application, including the research proposal.

More information about the Nature Net Science Fellowship program:

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to solicit applications for the NatureNet Science Fellowship, a trans-disciplinary postdoctoral fellowship and research grant program. The NatureNet Science Fellows program bridges academic excellence and conservation practice to create a new generation of climate change leaders who combine the rigor of academic science with real-world application. The outstanding early-career scientists in this 2-year postdoctoral program differ from other postdocs in two major ways:

1. They have prioritized improving and expanding their research skills— directing their efforts towards problems at the interface of climate, conservation, business, technology, and people; AND

2. They are committed to their professional development—  participating and applying trainings designed to improve skills in science communication, working-group facilitation, and leadership.

Recognizing that The Nature Conservancy’s conservation mission is best advanced by the contributions of individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures—  NatureNet encourages applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law.


The call for applications features two post-doctoral opportunities. Read the Eligibility and Award Terms carefully to determine the best fit for your research program. For both programs, applicants should identify a project and mentors from the available list:



Applicants will work with a Nature Conservancy mentor and a senior scholar (or scholars) from our 2019 Partner Universities- Brown University; Columbia University; Stanford University; Science for Nature and People Partnership, University of California – Los Angeles; University of Minnesota; University of Virginia; or the University of Queensland to develop a research program. The Conservancy expects post-doctoral appointments to start between May and September. Each Fellow will receive a non-negotiable annual salary of $50,000 plus benefits, with the postdoctoral position expected to run for two consecutive years. In addition to the stipend, each Fellow receives an annual travel budget of approximately $5,000 and an annual research fund of approximately $20,000. Second-year renewal of the fellowship is contingent upon satisfactory progress and contribution to the collective program.


Applicants and a university mentor from their host institution collaborate with a Nature Conservancy mentor to develop a research application. Each grantee will receive a research stipend of $20,000, with the grant period expected to run for two consecutive years. Second-year renewal of the grant is contingent upon satisfactory progress and contribution to the collective program. The Conservancy will distribute grant funds between May and September. Funds are awarded directly to the grantee's institution and may be used by the grantee for such purposes as equipment, technical assistance, professional travel, trainee support, or any other activity directly related to the grantees's research. Salary support is limited to a maximum of three months of the established academic salary (not including IDC).


For more information on the NatureNet Science Fellowship and to apply please visit: