ISEECI Postdoctoral Fellowship in California Ecological and/or Environmental History

The University of California’s newly founded Institute for the Study of Ecological Effects of Climate Impacts (ISEECI) invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in ecological and/or environmental history. The successful candidate will join a multi-disciplinary team of more than two-dozen UC faculty and graduate students using the university’s Natural Reserve System (NRS), the world’s largest network of university-run ecological field stations, as a laboratory for documenting and analyzing climate related change in California’s diverse ecosystems—past, present, and future.

Potential research themes include: (1) drawing on related, ongoing efforts to help build and make accessible an archival infrastructure of historical materials necessary to support baseline analyses of ecological changes in the NRS; and (2) using historical materials to develop (i) a rich ecological and environmental history of ISEECI/NRS sites to be used as a reference for future work and as a model for similar efforts at other UC reserves or (ii) a taxonomically focused project, examining changes in the distribution and abundance of a particular species or group, as related to climate change, land use, resource management, or other factors. The successful candidate will be expected to develop their own research project within these themes, working on or near reserves or other sites in the ISEECI gradient ( and potentially other UC reserves as well.

Candidates may propose original research (in collaboration with an ISEECI faculty member) that addresses fundamental questions. Alternatively, they may work with faculty on ongoing or prospective projects. The ideal candidate for this position is an energetic, interdisciplinary scholar of historical ecology and/or environmental history, with additional interests or training in information science, archival curation, science studies, or the digital humanities. This position includes unique opportunities for intercampus and interdisciplinary collaboration and career development.

This position is for one year, but renewable for a second year subject to progress and the availability of funds. The fellowship appointment may be made at any UC campus as appropriate based on the fellow’s experience, available mentors, and resources. This position includes unique opportunities for intercampus and interdisciplinary collaboration and career development.

Applications must include a CV, a cover letter briefly describing the candidate’s research interests, intended mentor and the names and contact information of three references. Potential mentors and their research interests are listed Applicants should contact prospective faculty mentors, and the mentor should submit a separate letter of support.

Email application materials may be submitted to Becca Fenwick ( Applications will be reviewed beginning on October 1, 2015, with the appointment beginning as early as November 1, 2015.

Salary is commensurate with experience. The position includes a research budget for equipment, supplies and travel among UC campuses and reserves. The University of California is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and is supportive of dual career couples.

Potential Mentors (please link these names to the text below)

  • Peter Alagona, Dept. History & Environmental Studies Program, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Jessica Blois, School of Natural Sciences, UC Merced.
  • Jon Christensen, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) and Department of History, and Peter Kareiva, IoES and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary
  • Biology, UCLA. Maggi Kelly, Dept. Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley.
  • Laurel Fox, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz. Jeff Diez, Ecology, UC Riverside.

Peter Alagona, Dept. History & Environmental Studies Program, UC Santa Barbara
He is an associate professor of history, geography, and environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara. He is an environmental historian and historian of science whose work focuses on wildlife conservation and land management, as well as the history of ideas about environmental change. He is the author of After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California (2013), and the director of the UC Natural Reserve System History and Archive Project.

Jessica Blois, School of Natural Sciences, UC Merced
She is a potential resource for understanding the longer-term (i.e., paleohistorical) aspects of how climate may have influenced ecological and evolutionary responses of California biodiversity. Projects in her lab ( include understanding factors underlying community assembly in California mammal communities over the late Quaternary, describing the drivers of spatiotemporal patterns of genetic diversity within dusky-footed wood rats (Neotoma fuscipes), and using the fossil record to test different models of species and community change over time.

Jon Christensen, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) and Department of History, and Peter Kareiva, IoES and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
Jon Christensen is an adjunct assistant professor of history, environmental communications, and environmental and digital humanities. He is a historian of science and the environment, a longtime journalist who has written for The New York Times, Nature, High Country News and many other publications, as well as TV and radio. And he is editor of Boom: A Journal of California, a quarterly published by the University of California Press.
Peter Kareiva is director of the IoES, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and author of Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature, among many other works. He was formerly the chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy. As part of ISEECI, Christensen and Kareiva are particularly interested in using the White Mountains Research Station (managed by UCLA) and the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (managed by UC Santa Barbara) as sites for exploring the value and importance of field station archives for understanding climate change and ecological adaptations over short and long terms, as well as changes in water resources and the impact on nearby and distant ecosystems and human communities.
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Maggi Kelly, Dept. Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
She studies the drivers, patterns and consequences of environmental change across California’s spatially complex, socially diverse and dynamic landscapes using integrated geospatial tools. Her work using GIS, remote sensing, historical data archives, web infrastructure, and participatory technologies enables interdisciplinary collaboration, data-rich and analysis-intensive geospatial research, and active outreach across a number of academic domains with significant societal impact. She works in California forest and wetland systems.  She is very conscious of the speed at which our geospatial field is evolving, making the need to capture information from, and share information with broad scientific, regulatory, and public communities increasingly important. To that end she seeks to build a community interested in applied geospatial research and outreach locally at UC Berkeley and across the state. She is the faculty director of the Geospatial Innovation Facility and Director of the ANR Statewide Program in Informatics and Geographic Information Systems (IGIS), both of which are dedicated to bringing cutting-edge mapping technology to the ANR network, students, staff, faculty, and the public.

Laurel Fox, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz
Jeff Diez, Ecology, UC Riverside
Reconstructing California climate, fire histories, and forest dynamics. Tree rings constitute an historical, biological archive of a landscape. Rings document how tree growth responds to climate, competition, and disturbances such as fire and pest outbreaks. This project would use tree ring analysis from sites across California to reconstruct forest dynamics and climate in multiple ecosystems across California. Questions may range from basic exploration of how abiotic and biotic effects on tree growth vary spatially and temporally, to applied questions of how management practices affect forest communities in this era of global change. Work may involve a combination of collecting tree cores and statistical modeling.