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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Illinois Natural History Survey

Graduate & Postdoc
Expiration Date: 

The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to assist with aquatic ecological research and to evaluate the impacts surrounding the impending Illinois River Waterway Lock Closure. The position duties will require a balance of field sampling, laboratory science, data analysis, and writing.

The associate will work under the direction of Jim Lamer, and work closely with the Illinois River Biological Station scientists, and other INHS researchers and faculty. The position is based in Havana, Illinois, where the applicant will join an interdisciplinary community of researchers and graduate students. Funding for the position is guaranteed for one year with possible extension for two additional years as project funding allows.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist with field work to monitor system-wide fish community response throughout the Illinois River Water Way (Dresden Island to Alton Reach) and select fishes dynamic rate function response to impending Illinois River Waterway lock closure.
  • Monitor and analyze explanatory variables directly related to lock-closure (i.e., wave height, sediment resuspension, boating frequency) to isolate lock-closure specific responses from natural variation.
  • Work closely and coordinate efforts between state, federal, and University partners associated with the project.
  • Analyze data, synthesize results, and write annual technical reports and multiple manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Disseminate research findings to management agencies, the scientific community, and general public through presentations at professional meetings, written reports, and public outreach activities
  • Ensure the safety of staff and equipment.
  • Respond to requests for scientific/technical information and communicate effectively with collaborators.
  • Participate in community outreach and service events, and mentor hourly staff
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois


  • Applicants should have a Ph.D. with extensive experience conducting research related to large rivers or other large-freshwater ecosystems.
  • Alternate degree fields in ecology or natural sciences will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience at it relates to this position.
  • Applicant should possess strong analytical skills and proficiency with R or SAS statistical software. Applicants with experience analyzing community data and time series data (using auto-regressive techniques) are preferred.


A minimum of three years conducting field and laboratory research on large rivers or other large aquatic systems. Must be able to write clearly and scientifically as demonstrated through prior publications. Must possess excellent organizational, interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. Ability to apply analytical/scientific thinking to define and solve problems. Ability to work independently, collect and analyze field data, and coherently communicate findings (verbally and in writing) to granting agencies and to scientific and public communities. Experience managing and analyzing large data sets is a bonus. Skills in effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organization, teamwork, and leadership are required. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment under stringent deadlines with minimal supervision. Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills are required. Proficiency in Microsoft Office, GIS, and other commonly used software is required. Must have valid driver's license and experience driving boats on rivers or other large bodies of water.

Environmental Demands

This position will involve conducting field research on rivers during hot and humid weather as well as during cold winter months.

Salary and Appointment

Funding for the position is guaranteed for one year with possible extension for two additional years as project funding allows, with a salary of $47,500 plus benefits.


For full consideration, applications should be received by September 15, 2019 but this position will remain open until filled. To be considered for the position, applicants should send a 1) cover letter that clearly articulates how your qualifications and experience make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references to Dr. Jim Lamer, Large River Ecologist, at For hiring questions, please contact Jon Freiman, HR Business Partner at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University’s commitment to diversity, please visit

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.