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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Molecular Ecologist

Date: Sep 16, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8488 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Biodiversity and Environmental Systems Health Group, in the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD), Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate (BESSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoctoral researcher will contribute to genes-ecosystems biodiversity assessments in hydropower research programs and long-term biological monitoring. The Oak Ridge Reservation is located within the Ridge and Valley Ecosystem, but also proximate to the Central and Southwestern Appalachian Ecosystems, all of which support among the world’s most diverse flora and fauna. The ORR is home to Walker Branch, one of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites, which provides opportunities for leveraging multi-sensor observation datasets in research. The BEHG has a long legacy of research on the environmental effects of hydropower energy and regulatory processes and conducted considerable research in aquatic toxicology and stream ecosystem responses to contaminant remediation and abatement.


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.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

We seek a candidate with combined field-molecular-computational experience working with fish and aquatic invertebrate communities in streams, hydropower reservoirs, and regulated rivers. The position requires integrating cutting-edge molecular methods such as environmental DNA (eDNA), with long-term monitoring, ecological, hydrological, and environmental data, using multidisciplinary approaches to address biodiversity questions in streams, hydropower reservoirs, and regulated riverine systems. The candidate will be responsible for conducting and designing research with eDNA for monitoring native and invasive species, developing monitoring protocols for rare or protected species and control of invasive species, use of next-generation sequencing for conservation of species and ecosystems, evaluation of genetic diversity in protected and invasive species, population genetics and gene flow between fragmented populations, and the application of genetic methods to provide information to species and ecosystem managers.


Work within interdisciplinary research teams is expected, and the successful candidate should be able to conceptualize, organize, and guide multiple tasks and individuals contributing to larger coordinated efforts. Other work within the group that would support collaborations with the candidate includes invertebrate species as water quality indicators, genotype-to-phenotype quantification, research in urban dynamics, and climate change and renewable energy.


Successful candidates are expected to publish in scientific journals and technical reports, and present findings at scientific meetings.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in biology, genetics, ecology, environmental sciences, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Strong research productivity
  • Strong experience in molecular genetics and genomics
  • Bioinformatics and statistical analysis of next-generation sequencing data
  • Ecological and multivariate statistics
  • Field-based experimental design
  • Additional preference will be given to candidates with training in both fish and invertebrate communities and ecosystem-level analysis
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


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.

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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