Postdoctoral Researcher

Point Blue Conservation Science invites applications for a Postdoctoral Researcher in terrestrial biogeochemistry and soil science who will work to advance climate change mitigation and soil health efforts on rangelands in California and beyond. 

Desired Position Start Date: April 15, 2021 (some flexibility)

Position End Date: December 31, 2023

Application Deadline: February 19, 2021, or until filled 

Position Summary: We seek a postdoctoral researcher to join a dynamic and high-impact multi-institute research team working to better understand rangeland management effects on carbon sequestration and soil organic matter dynamics. The successful candidate will help to develop a carbon monitoring framework to track how above and belowground carbon changes in response to commonly recommended rangeland management practices. The candidate will also be responsible for coordinating a statewide cross-sectional study aimed at estimating above and belowground carbon changes over time with riparian restoration, silvopasture, and range seeding, differentiating between forms of soil organic matter to estimate permanence and associated contribution to near-term fertility versus climate change mitigation. As part of the study, the candidate will conduct modeling exercises that integrate field data with process-based biogeochemical models. 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

The successful candidate will work closely with the Principal Investigator, Dr. Chelsea Carey (Point Blue), and other collaborators on the project, including Drs. Keith Paustian (CSU) and Phil Taylor (Mad Agriculture), to: 

  • Facilitate the development of a carbon monitoring framework for rangeland management practices, including:
    • summarize existing relevant carbon monitoring protocols and publications in a white paper
    • coordinate a working group to discuss and develop monitoring framework
    • conduct necessary analyses to evaluate and inform variability reduction in carbon estimates and test protocols in the field
    • synthesize and draft protocols into a handbook
    • deploy monitoring framework on 5-10 pilot ranches
  • Coordinate a statewide cross-sectional study aimed at better understanding how above and belowground carbon and soil organic matter dynamics change in response to riparian restoration, silvopasture, and range seeding, including:
    • lead field sampling efforts
    • facilitate or support in-house and collaborative processing of plant and soil samples
    • manage data storage/access and analyze data
  • Refine, validate, and compare the performance of process-based biogeochemical models for predicting carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions reductions with management of California’s rangelands, including:
    • curate necessary datasets for model inclusion
    • run and evaluate models
  • Author peer-reviewed manuscripts and communicate findings to diverse local, national, and international audiences

Qualifications & Experience: 


  • Ph.D. (granted or expected soon) in soil science, biogeochemistry, terrestrial ecosystem ecology, agroecology, or related field


  • Experience assessing and/or developing sampling designs for monitoring ecosystem properties
  • Experience measuring above and belowground carbon stocks 
  • Working knowledge of process-based soil organic matter models 
  • Strong knowledge of terrestrial carbon and nutrient cycling
  • Familiarity with climate change mitigation and soil health on working lands
  • Excellent quantitative research and data analysis skills, including proficiency in the statistical program R, GIS software, and version control systems such as Git/Github
  • Interest in applied research to inform policy and practice
  • Superior organizational and facilitation skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team and with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including demonstrated success in clearly, respectfully, and productively communicating with partners from multiple sectors

Compensation & Benefits: This is a full-time, salaried position with competitive benefits. Salary is $67,000 – $71,000 per year. Benefits include 100% medical and dental premium coverage for employees, and partial coverage (80%) for dependents including domestic partners. Other benefits include long term care insurance, optional vision, life insurance, short term and long term disability, flexible spending account, commuter plan and a 401k plan with an employer discretionary match. Full time employees accrue up to 3 weeks paid vacation, 3 personal days, 12 sick days and 7 holidays each year. 

Location: Petaluma, California (Sonoma County); remote negotiable for first 6 months

About Point Blue: Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue, formerly PRBO), based in Petaluma, California, is a growing and internationally renowned nonprofit with over 160 staff and scientists. Founded in 1965 and working from California to Antarctica, we advance conservation of nature for wildlife and people through science, partnership, and outreach. Our scientists work closely with ranchers, farmers, other scientists, major conservation groups, and federal, state, and local government agencies. Our highest priority today is to increase the pace, scale, and impact of climate-smart conservation. 

The successful candidate will be a part of Point Blue’s Working Lands Group, whose staff and scientists conduct and translate rigorous science and work with land stewards and other partners to ensure agricultural landscapes provide ecosystems services that support the needs of people and wildlife. Learn more about Point Blue’s Working Lands Program here

How to Apply: Please email the following materials as a single PDF to with the subject line “Working Lands Postdoctoral Position”:

  • Cover letter detailing your interest in the position, career goals, and experience and qualifications as they relate to the responsibilities outlined above
  • CV
  • Names and contact information for 3 references 


We especially encourage applications from groups that have been historically excluded from conservation and STEM fields, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and women. Point Blue is deeply committed to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusivity and our team seeks to create an open and welcoming community for individuals of all backgrounds.