Cornell University, Lab of Ornithology

Position ID:Cornell-Lab-QUANTITATIVEECOLOGY [#16732, WDR-00023686]
Position Title: Postdoctoral Associate in Quantitative Ecology (Lab of Ornithology); Ithaca, New York
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Ithaca, New York 14850, United States [map]
Subject Areas: Statistics
Appl Deadline:2020/09/27 11:59PMhelp popup* finished (2020/08/25, finished 2021/01/04, listed until 2020/09/27)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed and new applications are no longer accepted. ***

Postdoctoral Associate
Lab of Ornithology
Center for Avian Population Studies
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 


Who We Are

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is the world's leading resource for conservation, research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. The Lab is a vibrant unit within Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), where full-time faculty and other renowned professionals direct six world-class, mission-driven centers. Staff at the Lab teach undergraduate courses, advise graduate students, collect and disseminate world-famous digital resources on biodiversity, and engage with partner organizations and people around the world to conduct scientific research and conservation actions. Our management and staff are committed to the highest standards of ethics and excellence in all areas of our work. Our Board leadership includes faculty from Cornell and other universities, successful entrepreneurs and managers from the business and non-profit sectors, and conservation-minded citizens from the United States and beyond.

The Cornell Lab is currently home to a vibrant community of several dozen postdoctoral associates working across all six centers, and we strive to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for this community that fosters personal growth and career advancement. 

The North American continent is supporting 3 billion fewer birds today than in 1970; however, the demographic mechanisms underlying these declines remain poorly understood. Within this NSF project, we aim to develop a methodological framework to understand current population declines and point towards a roadmap for the recovery and conservation of the mass migration of birds. We seek to gain mechanistic insights into how climate extremes are driving population changes and how to assess macro-scale demographic patterns scale down to individual ecoregions and local sites.

What You Will Do

You will work with a dynamic interdisciplinary group of ecologists and data analysts within the Center for Avian Population Studies. You will examine population change from a large-scale demographic perspective, relying on ‘big data’ resources that can be readily generalized across many species. You will collaborate with Cornell Lab’s quantitative team to develop macro-demographic indices of avian recruitment and mortality. This is based on continent-wide radar data (NEXRAD), broad-scale citizen-science data (eBird), and fine-scale data from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and Phenocam.

Specific duties include:

  • Developing and validating novel tools and approaches for estimating macro-demographic indices of abundance, recruitment, and mortality in a large-scale avian migration system, based on radar and eBird data.
  • Describing the primary macro-scale demographic patterns and characteristics of the North-American migration system, and testing hypothesized mechanisms for these patterns by quantifying the associations between the macro-demographic indices and extreme climatic events.
  • Presenting results at professional meetings, conferences, and popular seminars.
  • Preparing peer-reviewed papers and other research products.

What We Need

We are looking for an individual that enjoys participating in general project management and working directly with internal and external project collaborators. We need someone who enjoys engaging in ongoing academic and intellectual life. Additionally, we need someone who has:

  • Ph.D. in (quantitative) ecology, applied statistics, or a related field with a strong background in data science, statistics, and model development.
  • Ability to apply quantitative methods to ecological hypotheses and questions.
  • Multi-disciplinary skills to effectively bridge fields, including population ecology, movement ecology, and geospatial statistics.
  • Strong record of success conducting research and scholarly activities, including publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Experience with R and/or other programming languages.
  • Experience working with large datasets and cloud computing. 

If you possess these experiences and skills, this may be the role for you!  There are a few other qualifications that we would view as incredibly helpful in this role, to include:

  • Experience in ornithology and affinity with birds are a bonus, but not required. 

This is a full-time (40 hours/week) position and will be located in Ithaca, New York. This is a one-year appointment with possible extension for a second year, depending on funding and performance.

Rewards and Benefits


We hope you appreciate great benefits. Cornell receives national recognition as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives. 

  • Our benefits program includes comprehensive health care options, employee discounts with local and national retail brands, and generous retirement contributions.
  • Our leave provisions include three weeks of vacation and 12 holidays: e.g., an end-of-year winter break, from December 25th through January 1st.
  • Cornell's impressive educational benefits include tuition-free Part-time Study and Employee Degree Program, Tuition Aid for external education, and Cornell Children's Tuition Assistance program.
  • We invite you to follow this link to get more information:


To apply:

Please apply via Academic Jobs On-line (

Qualified candidates should submit a letter of application outlining qualifications, curriculum vitae, contact information for three references, one example publication with appendix code, and a statement of contribution to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion via the website. 

Review of applications will begin on October 1st and continue until a suitable applicant is identified. For more information, please contact Dr. Adriaan Dokter (

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Life. Changing.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement. Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell's far-flung global presence includes the medical college's campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. 

Employment Assistance: If you require an accommodation for a disability in order to complete an employment application or to participate in the recruiting process, you are encouraged to contact Cornell University's Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity at voice (607) 255-3976, fax (607) 255-7481, or email at For general questions about the position or the application process, please contact the Recruiter listed in the job posting. Applicants that do not have internet access are encouraged to visit your local library, or local Department of Labor. You may also visit the office of Workforce Recruitment and Retention Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to use a dedicated workstation to complete an online application. Notice to Applicants: Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here. This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant. EEO Statement: Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, New York 14850