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Postdoctoral Fellow - Quantitative Freshwater Ecology

Expiration Date: 

Postdoctoral Fellow - Quantitative Freshwater Ecology
School of Biological Sciences
University of Canterbury, New Zealand

  • Full-time at 37.5 hours per week (1.0 FTE)
  • Fixed-term position for two years (starting as soon as possible)

What You Will Do
UC’s School of Biological Sciences has an opportunity for a Postdoctoral Fellow to participate in a research project, Achieving sustainable and resilient river ecosystems in Aoteaora under climate change, funded by Te Pūnaha Matatini. Your role will focus on forecasting freshwater fish community responses to climate change and to generate near-term forecasts and long-term projections of freshwater fish community responses to changing flow regimes. By developing a combination of mechanistic, statistical and hybrid modelling approaches we will enable both near-term forecasts and longer-term projections of various climate-change scenarios that are relevant to decision makers and robust to hydro-climatic nonstationarity.

For background, see also:

1. Tonkin, J. D., J. D. Olden, D. M. Merritt, L. V. Reynolds, J. S. Rogosch, and D. A. Lytle. (2021). Designing flow regimes to support entire river ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 19:326–333.

2. Tonkin, J. D., N. L. Poff, N. R. Bond, A. Horne, David. M. Merritt, L. V. Reynolds, J. D. Olden, A. Ruhi, and D. A. Lytle. (2019). Prepare river ecosystems for an uncertain future. Nature. 570:301–303.

3. Tonkin, J. D., Olden, J. D., Merritt, D. M., Reynolds, L. V. & Lytle, D. A. (2018). Flow regime alteration degrades ecological networks in riparian ecosystems. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 2, 86-93.

Who You Are
To be successful in this position you will ideally have the following:

  • A PhD in ecology, mathematics, statistics or a related discipline
  • A research background in ecology, with an emphasis on quantitative population and/or community ecology
  • Demonstrated experience of excellent research capabilities (design and leadership) required to carry out innovative and insightful research
  • A strong publication track record (relative to experience level) as well as experience with preparation and delivery of quality oral presentations to a wide range of audiences are essential
  • Analytical/modelling and programming skills (e.g. R or python)
  • A strong grounding in ecological theory

Who You Will Work With
Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | The School of Biological Sciences
has a high national and international profile and has an excellent teaching and research infrastructure. We have well-established research programmes from molecular to whole-organism and ecological scales. For more information, visit the School of Biological Science webpage.

The Tonkin Lab has a strong focus on understanding the impacts of environmental change on ecological communities. Our lab is international in flavour, and interdisciplinary in thought and approach. Our lab group strives to cultivate an open, safe and supportive environment that values creativity, diversity, integrity and collaboration. For more information about our team, please visit our website:

Needless to say, New Zealand provides an unbelievable setting to perform this work, and the Tonkin Lab group values a balanced approach to work and life. Christchurch is the prime spot to launch excursions around New Zealand, as it has an international airport, and is in the middle of South Island. This provides easy access to beaches, pristine forests with extensive, well-maintained walking and mountain-biking tracks, excellent skiing in winter, and easy connections to other locations such as Australia. Christchurch is also very family friendly.

Why UC
Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora - Engaged, Empowered, Making a Difference.

Based in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury stands for whanaungatanga - we value people and their differences, manaakitanga - we extend care and empower others, and tiakitanga - we will enhance and nurture our resources.

We are committed to accessible higher education, service to the community and the encouragement of talent without barriers of distance, wealth, class, gender or ethnicity. The University explicitly aims to produce graduates and support staff who are engaged with their communities, empowered to act for good and determined to make a difference in the world.

We offer a range of fantastic benefits including flexible work practices, study opportunities and generous superannuation and leave provisions. For more information, please visit us:

For more information about Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury, please visit

The closing date for this position is: Sunday 31st July 2022 (midnight, NZ time)
Applications may be reviewed and processed as they are received. It is possible that an appointment will be made prior to the advised close date.

Pēhea te tono mai | How You Apply
Applications for this position must be submitted on our careers website (ad here) and should include a cover letter and resume. Please note, we do not accept applications by email, however we are happy to answer your queries in relation to the application process, please forward these to

For further information about the role, please contact

This role requires that you are, and remain, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (including any periodic boosters required by law or required to obtain a My Vaccine Pass), during your employment with the University of Canterbury.