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Research Fellow (Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands - Ecology) - AR2125HM

University of St Andrews - School of Geography and Sustainable Development

Location: Saint Andrews
Salary: £32,548 to £35,550
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 10th August 2018
Closes: 10th September 2018
Job Ref: 197106

Start Date: 1 October 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter

Fixed Term for 24 months

Applications are invited for a two-year postdoctoral research fellow to work on the project Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands: An Interdisciplinary Challenge, funded by a Leverhulme Trust research project grant. Thus far, research on these important ecosystems has focused on international scientific agendas (e.g. carbon storage), but if conservation and sustainable development programmes in the region are to be successful then the science of the natural environment must be studied alongside the issues that are important to local communities, such as the changing availability of wild resources e.g. fruit and game animals.

This post presents an opportunity for an ecologist to work alongside social scientists on an interdisciplinary project to expand, in a holistic way, our understanding of tropical peatlands. The research fellow will be one of three working on this project (the others working on social science and remote sensing) and primarily responsible for collection of data that will improve our understanding of the hydrological resilience of peatlands, including above-ground vegetation dynamics and below-ground carbon sequestration. Collaboration with the social science research fellow will allow identification of the likely socio-ecological consequences of threats and opportunities perceived by communities, with the aim of averting conservation conflicts with livelihoods.

The project will involve approximately four months of fieldwork, including geolocation of significant sites and recording significant ecosystem properties (e.g. vegetation structure and composition, water table height and variability). They will be responsible for curating, analysing and publishing the natural science-facing findings in appropriate formats (e.g. policy documents and peer-reviewed journals) and for dissemination to the communities.

Applicants should hold a PhD in ecology, a strong track record in tropical ecology, and good written and spoken Spanish. Experience of fieldwork in challenging, remote and/or peatland environments, and experience of working in interdisciplinary contexts would be an advantage.

The research fellow will be part of the interdisciplinary Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands project team, which spans two universities (St Andrews and Edinburgh) and our project partner in Peru (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana). At St Andrews they will join an established team of researchers working on the natural and social science aspects of peatlands in Amazonia and the Congo Basin: see They will be a member of the Environmental Change research group.

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development provides a welcoming and supportive community. A wide range of career development opportunities and courses is provided by the University, which is Scotland’s oldest. The town of St Andrews is situated on the beautiful coastline of eastern Scotland.

The post will commence on 1 October 2018 or shortly thereafter, for 24 months.

For further information, please contact Dr Katy Roucoux ( or Dr Althea Davies (

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (ECU Athena SWAN/Race Charters; Carer Positive; LGBT Charter; and Stonewall).  More details can be found at

Closing Date: 10 September 2018

Please quote ref: AR2125HM

Further Particulars: AR2125HM FPs.doc

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