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Sr. Scientist in Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Date: Sep 25, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4494 



The Earth Systems Science section (ESS) within the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD),, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL),, is seeking a science leader with a passion for studying the natural world. You will be joining a highly-motivated team that seeks quantitative and mechanistic understanding of ecosystem responses to environmental change through a process of observation-model-experiment iterations that values open (sharing of data, code, and resources) and outward-looking research. The ideal candidate will have expertise in studying terrestrial ecosystems in field settings, and experience in remote sensing (e.g., LIDAR/SIF), plant-soil nutrient interactions, and ecosystem manipulations. This will be a full-time research staff position with potential for scientific growth and career advancement for a creative and highly motivted individual.


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 have responsibility for collaboratively supporting existing projects and developing new research concepts and projects in the area of global change biology in collaboration with ESD and external researchers. The nature of our scientific work is highly multidisciplinary, and projects will be carried out in close collaboration with scientists from a variety of scientific backgrounds.


Qualifications Required:

  • A minimum of 10 years of post-PhD experience.
  • PhD in ecosystem ecology, biogeosciences or related discipline.
  • System-level understanding of large-scale environmental issues
  • Experience developing experimental and observation systems
  • Experience in using and applying ecological knowledge in ecosystem models
  • Positive, creative, and self-starting.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead colleagues in collaborative projects.
  • An excellent record of publication in high-quality, peer-reviewed, international journals
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to work as part of a team and be comfortable in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills are required.
  • Physical fitness level commensurate with work in hot, cold, or wet conditions in remote field locations. A post-offer, pre-hire physical will be required for this position.


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