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Anthropology: PEMA Lab Postdoctoral Researcher (Open until filled. Apply by 3/1/21)

Application Window

Open date: January 8th, 2021

Last review date: Monday, Mar 1, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Wednesday, Jun 30, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The Primate Ecology and Molecular Anthropology (PEMA) Lab ( in the Anthropology Department ( of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher position dedicated to the development of a strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) map of equatorial Africa under the direction of Dr. Vicky M. Oelze. The PEMA lab is specialized in the behavioral and stable isotope ecology of living primates, particularly African great apes, and well as the use of a variety of stable isotope systems (87Sr/86Sr, δ34S, δ18O, δ15N, δ13C, δ66Zn, δ56Fe, δ65Cu) in archaeological science.

The postdoctoral researcher will analyze ~500 environmental samples (snail shell, plants, soil) from more than 40 field sites and nationwide surveys in equatorial Africa to develop the first 87Sr/86Sr isoscape map for this region, which will provide a foundation for future investigations of historic human displacement from and within Africa during the transatlantic slave trade. This new isoscape ranging from West to East Africa, with a strong representation of geological units in the West and Central African coast, will also be relevant for wildlife forensics as isotopes are increasingly used in identifying hotspots of poaching and wildlife trafficking. This project has the potential to have significant impact on the archaeology of Africa and the transatlantic slave trade, as well as for wildlife conservation.

Besides experience with 87Sr/86Sr analysis involving the operation of a TIMS or ICPMS, the ideal candidate should be fluent in the programing language R, have substantial experience with mapping large datasets (GIS) and a record of scientific publications. Applicants with experience in developing large-scale isoscapes are particularly qualified for this position. Candidates with a strong research emphasis on mobility in past African societies and/or forced migration during the transatlantic slave trade are strongly encouraged to apply, even if they may not have a substantial track record in isotope analysis, but feel confident in data analysis and mapping. The successful candidate is expected to actively engage with international colleagues working on the archeology of slavery and to engage in public outreach on behalf of the project.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Commensurate with qualifications and experience. The initial annual salary will range from $55,000 to $60,000. Minimum annual salary rates are made based on the individual’s Experience Level, which is determined by the number of months of postdoctoral service at any institution. See current salary scale for Postdoctoral Titles at

Ph.D. (or equivalent foreign degree) in disciplines for which strontium isotope geochemistry is relevant, such as archaeological science and biological anthropology, geology, geochronology, ecology as well as environmental studies. Ph.D. must be in hand at time of the initial appointment.

As soon as possible after review of all applications. The position will remain open until filled. Start date of the appointment is envisioned for spring 2021 but can be somewhat flexible in response to the challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time; the initial appointment is for a minimum of one year, with the possibility of reappointment. Reappointment will be contingent upon positive performance review. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at any institution. Under limited circumstances, an exception to this limit may be considered, not to exceed a sixth year.

Applications are accepted via the UCSC Academic Recruit online system. All documents and materials must be submitted as PDFs.

Please refer to Position # JPF00983-21T in all correspondence.

Reference Requirement
Applications must include confidential letters of recommendation* (a minimum of two are required and a maximum of three will be accepted). Please note that your references, or dossier service, will submit their confidential letters directly to the UC Recruit System.

*All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. For any reference letter provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service, career center), direct the author to UCSC’s confidentiality statement at

Full consideration will be given to applications completed by March 1, 2021. Applications received after this date will be considered only if the position has not been filled.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686.

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see The university sponsors employment-based visas for nonresidents who are offered academic appointments at UC Santa Cruz (see

UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus.

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact Disability Management Services at (831) 459-4602.

UCSC is committed to addressing the spousal and partner employment needs of our candidates and employees. As part of this commitment, our institution is a member of the Northern California Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NorCal HERC). Visit the NorCal HERC website at to search for open positions within a commutable distance of our institution.

The University of California offers a competitive benefits package and a number of programs to support employee work/life balance. For information about employee benefits please visit

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Cover Letter - Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position.

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Sample Publication - Sample publication relevant for this position.

  • Sample Publication - Sample publication relevant for this position.

  • Sample Publication - Sample publication relevant for this position.

  • Sample Publication - Sample publication relevant for this position.

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Statement addressing your understanding of the barriers facing traditionally underrepresented groups and your past and/or future contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion through teaching and professional or public service. Candidates are urged to review guidelines on statements (see before preparing their application.

Reference requirements
  • 2-3 letters of reference required

Job location

Santa Cruz, California