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EEB Postdoc: Ecological Effects of Indigenous Land Tenure and Governance (Zavaleta Lab)

Position overview

Position title: EEB Postdoc: Ecological Effects of Indigenous Land Tenure and Governance (Zavaleta Lab)
Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience. The posted UCSC salary scales set the minimum pay based on the individual’s Experience Level, which is determined by the number of months of postdoctoral service at any institution. See the salary scale titled, Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee /Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow / Postdoctoral Scholar-Paid Direct -Fiscal Year. A reasonable estimate for this position is $64,500-72,000.
Percent time: Full-time (100%)
Anticipated start: Starting as soon as possible after initial review of the applications and no later than fall 2024. Ph.D. must be in hand at time of the initial appointment.
Position duration: Maximum Duration of Service in a Postdoctoral Title: Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time and the initial appointment is for a minimum of two years, with the possibility of reappointment. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at any institution.

Application Window

Open date: April 16, 2024

Most recent review date: Wednesday, May 15, 2024 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: Tuesday, Oct 15, 2024 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 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department ( at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for a postdoctoral scholar to investigate and quantify ecological effects of indigenous land tenure and stewardship, under the mentorship of Prof. Erika Zavaleta (Conservation Science & Solutions Lab, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department). Primarily, the postdoctoral scholar will collaborate with an indigenous-led partner organization in Tanzania, Africa to integrate satellite-derived ecological data and land tenure maps to understand the influences of community governance and land tenure on savanna-woodland ecosystems and agricultural conversion. The postdoctoral scholar will also contribute to broader inquiry about ecological outcomes of indigenous stewardship globally, including a meta-analysis. This position provides a unique opportunity to pursue understanding of the effects of governance systems on ecological and biodiversity outcomes in partnership with a globally recognized, community-based land stewardship organization. While fieldwork is not essential, the position will include at least one site visit to meet partners and become familiar with the region.

Research in the Conservation Science & Solutions Lab addresses varied aspects of biodiversity science including ecological and evolutionary responses to climate change across terrestrial taxa; conservation practice; and ecological knowledge partnerships for restoration and cultural revitalization. Current projects include adaptive responses to climate change in trees and alpine songbirds, cultural burning to restore wetlands and woodlands, and partnered development of tools to facilitate land and species conservation planning in the context of climate change. The postdoctoral scholar will join a vibrant community that values collaborative inquiry; inclusive teaching and mentoring; engagement with policy, practice and non- academic partners; and comprehensive professional development. The selected postdoctoral scholar will achieve this work using one or more of the following areas:

  • Expertise in using satellite-derived data to characterize land cover, land use change, wildlife abundance, ecosystem productivity and/or biological diversity
  • Experience in and/or commitment to working across cultures with non-academic research partners
  • Expertise in spatial analysis in ArcGIS or equivalent
  • Excellent R programming language skills
  • Experience with management and analysis of large datasets
  • A strong publication record in peer- reviewed journals
  • Strong collaborative, communication and interpersonal skills to contribute to a team that cuts across disciplines, cultures and sectors

Candidates with the following additional expertise and experience are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • Experience synthesizing the results of other research through meta-analysis
  • Experience in grassland, woodland, savanna or similar biomes
  • Experience with cross-cultural collaboration and mutual capacity building
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Strong mentoring skills
  • Ability and desire to travel to partner office and field sites in Tanzania ~2-4 weeks/year or as needed to pursue specific questions of mutual interest that require more fieldwork.


  • All documents and materials must be submitted as PDFs and should be forwarded to Erika Zavaleta ( and Blair McLaughlin (
  • Please refer to Position JPF01706 in all correspondence.


  • Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position (required)
  • Curriculum vitae (required)
  • Names and contact information for three or more references

Full consideration will be given to applications completed by May 15, 2024. Applications received after this date will be considered only if the position has not been filled.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department:

Conservation Science & Solutions Lab (Zavaleta):


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)
  • Ph.D. (or equivalent foreign degree) in Ecology, Remote Sensing & GIS, Environmental Science or related fields. Ph.D. must be in hand at the time of initial appointment.
  • Experience in spatial analysis using remotely sensed data.

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About UC Santa Cruz

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.

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Job location

Santa Cruz, California