Environment Magazine

Job: Research Fellow in Palaeo-Ecological Modelling

Posted on the 13 April 2017 by Bradshaw @conservbytes
Job: Research Fellow in Palaeo-Ecological Modelling

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I have another postdoctoral fellowship to advertise! All the details you need for applying are below.


Scientific data such as fossil and archaeological records used as proxy to reconstruct past environments and biological communities (including humans) are sparse, often ambiguous or contradictory when establishing any consensus on timing or routes of initial human arrival and subsequent spread, the timing or extent of major changes in climate and other environmental perturbations, or the timing or regional pattern of biological extinctions.

The Research Fellow (Palaeo-Ecological Modelling) will assist in addressing these problems by developing state-of-the-art analytical and simulation tools to infer regional pattern of both the timing of human colonization and megafauna extinction based on incomplete and sparse dataset, and investigating past environmental changes and human responses to identify their underlying causes and consequences on Australia’s landscapes, biodiversity and cultural history.


The position will be based in the School of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science & Engineering at Flinders University. Flinders University boasts a world-class Palaeontology Research Group (PRG) and the new Global Ecology Research Laboratory that have close association with the research-intensive South Australian Museum. These research groups contribute to building a dynamic research environment that explores the continuum of environmental and evolutionary research from the ancient to modern molecular ecology and phylogeography. The School of Biological Sciences is an integrated community researching and teaching biology, and has a long history of science innovation. The appointee will join an interdisciplinary school of approximately 45 academic staff. The teaching and research activities of the School are supported by a range of technical and administrative infrastructure services.


The key responsibilities and selection criteria identified for this position should be read in conjunction with the Flinders University Academic Profiles for the relevant academic classification (scroll down to Academic Profiles).

The Research Fellow (Palaeo-Ecological Modelling) will work under the direction of the Project Chief Investigator, and will be required to:

  • Focus on developing mathematical models in the following themes:

– Novel quantitative methods to estimate the regional timing of human colonization from detailed archaeological data and ancient genetic information across geological periods.

– Assessing the role of past climate variation in both facilitating human colonization and extirpating megafauna species.

– Integrating the additive, synergistic or mutually exclusive role of human colonization and climate variation on species (megafauna) extinction over the last 120,000 years.

– Quantifying the impact of landscape change (i.e., vegetation, habitat fragmentation) due to climate change and human intensification on megafauna extinction.

– Novel mathematical approaches (e.g., point processes model) to identify processes underlying paleo-climate change, first human colonization and megafauna extinction trajectories.

  • Analyse research findings and contribute to the preparation and output of reports, research publications, etc. as required.
  • Liaise with staff, students and external collaborators to achieve project objectives.
  • Any other duties as determined by the supervisor.

Staff responsibilities may be varied by the University in order to allow the University to respond to operational needs or requirements.

The Research Fellow (Palaeo-Ecological Modelling) is expected to promote and provide a safe working environment for students, staff and visitors with attention to the requirements of the Work Health & Safety (WHS) Act, the Return to Work Act 2014, University WHS and Injury Management policies, and Equal Opportunity Acts applicable to the State in which the position is located.


This position will at times be responsible for managing associated research staff and students according to the University’s policies, practices and standards.


The incumbent will be expected to work with teams of national and international collaborators under the direction of the supervisor. They will liaise with academic, administrative and technical staff according to the University’s policies, practices and standards.


All staff are expected to:

  • contribute to the efficient and effective functioning of the team or work unit in order to meet organisational objectives. This includes demonstrating appropriate and professional workplace behaviours, providing assistance to team members if required and undertaking other key responsibilities or activities as directed by one’s supervisor;
  • perform their responsibilities in a manner which reflects and responds to continuous improvement; and
  • familiarise themselves and comply with the University’s Work Health and Safety and Equal Opportunity policies.


(Note for intending applicants – applicants should address each selection criterion individually and should argue their case by citing evidence to support their claims rather than presenting a list of facts only.)

Essential criteria 

  1. Completion of a PhD or equivalent degree (or clear evidence of thesis submission) in a discipline relevant to global change biology or ecological modelling, and/or equivalent qualifications and experience.
  2. Strong evidence of commitment to research excellence and research skills, demonstrated by publications in leading scientific journals and conferences.
  3. Proven proficiency in computational and analytical programming, including demonstrated ability in quantitative ecology, environmental and/or climate modelling, and development of computational methods relevant to time series analysis.
  4. Demonstrated high level of understanding of statistical models used to infer species extinction/colonisation times from fossil record and genetic data.
  5. Demonstrated effective verbal and written communication skills and interpersonal skills, including a willingness to supervise students within the lab and engage with external research partners.

Desirable criteria 

  1. Strong background and overview of paleoclimate change worldwide since the Late Pleistocene.
  2. Familiarity with point process modelling is preferred.
  3. Demonstrated ability to work effectively as a member of a research team as well as conducting independent research and undertake project leadership.


Candidates will be evaluated on merit against all of the various components that make up this Position Description. Assessment will take into account all information that is determined to be appropriate, e.g. written application, qualifications, interview, work samples, skills testing and referee reports.

The final decision regarding appointment to this position will be based on an assessment of the requirements of the total Position Description.


All intending applicants should read the Essential Information for Applicants. If you are unable to access this information on the website, please contact the contact person nominated below.

See here for information about Flinders University, living and working in Adelaide and employment at the University.


For further information about the position, contact Professor Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology, by email.

Candidates are encouraged discuss the position with the contact person before sending in a written application.


E-recruitment is the method by which Flinders University manages its recruitment process. Applications should be lodged on-line at Jobs@Flinders. For details of the on-line application process, please refer to Jobs@Flinders — How to Apply.

Please do not forward applications to the Contact Person.


Vacancy Reference No: 17078
Faculty: Faculty of Sciences and Engineering
Organisational Unit: School of Biological Sciences
Classification: Research Academic Level B
Salary Range: AU$90,045 to AU$106,926 pa full-time
Superannuation:Employer contribution of 9.50% of salary
Total Remuneration Package: AU$98,599 to AU$117,084 pa full-time. The total remuneration package includes salary and employer superannuation contributions.
Employment Type: Fixed term, full-time, available for 3 years
Probation: It is standard University practice to apply a probationary period to all appointments.
Supervisor (Title): Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology
Closing date: 11:00, Monday 1 May 2017

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