Share this Job

Associate Scientist in Mathematical Ecology

Date: Sep 9, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4473 


The Earth Systems Science section (ESS) within the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD),, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL),, is seeking an early-career scientist to advance the development and integration of biogeochemical models using observations and experiments across multiple scales from the “top-of-the-bedrock” to the “top-of-the-vegetative-canopy”. The successful candidate will demonstrate strong multidisciplinary expertise and quantitative skills. Their research will enable the transformation of biogeochemical and hydrological processes into models to capture above- and below-ground interactions. Possible applications include developing mathematical representations to quantify linkages between carbon and nutrient dynamics and soil microbial communities; and/or the use of novel technologies such as solar-induced fluorescence and eddy covariance to understand linkages between above- and below-ground ecosystem components.

ESD is an interdisciplinary research and development organization with more than 60 years of achievement in local, regional, national, and international environmental research. Our vision is to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will strengthen the nation’s leadership in creating solutions to help sustain the Earth’s natural resources. Our scientists conduct research, develop technology, and perform analyses to understand and assess responses of environmental systems at the environment-human interface and the consequences of alternative energy and environmental strategies.

The ESS section is world-renowned for large-scale experimental manipulations and is currently leading the US DOE flagship ‘Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments’ (SPRUCE) field experiment ( ESD staff also lead the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) Arctic project (, and we are an integral partner in the NGEE Tropics research project ( We also lead the Critical Interfaces Science Focus Area (CI-SFA,, which investigates the role of hydrology on the transformation of redox-sensitive elements, such as mercury, in a flowing stream system. ESS staff also lead the development of multiple land system components in the US DOE Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM,


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

You will work with a diverse team of researchers seeking to advance our scientific understanding of feedbacks among carbon, nutrients, water, and energy cycles in terrestrial ecosystems and their response to multiple interacting climate and anthropogenic forcing factors. Incorporation of new process-level findings from observations and experiments into biogeochemical cycling models is a primary goal of this team. You will utilize your strong mathematical skills to develop new functions and representations of ecological processes in models over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. It is expected you will publish your findings in top-quality journals, and you will have the opportunity to participate in the generation of novel research concepts. 


Qualifications Required

  • A minimum of three years of post-Ph.D. experience
  • Ph.D. in a discipline relevant to climate interactions with terrestrial ecosystems (e.g., microbiology, ecology, soils, engineering, atmospheric science)
  • Experience with modeling ecological processes, cycling of energy and nutrients in above- and below-ground ecosystems, and/ or trace-gas emissions  
  • Ability to design and implement simulation models and advanced statistical models, conduct multi-objective optimization, and assess uncertainty in model predictions, using common scientific programming tools (e.g. FORTRAN, C#, R, Matlab, GIS)
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, an ability to work as a part of a team, and be comfortable in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and a strong record of publication in high- quality, peer-reviewed, international journals


At a minimum, we request that applicants include an updated CV and list of references as part of the application packet.


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville