Cornell University, Lab of Ornithology

Position ID:Cornell-Lab-POSTDOC_CAP2522 [#22958, WDR-00033624]
Position Title: Postdoctoral Associate, Quantitative Ecologist - Lab of Ornithology
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Ithaca, New York 14850, United States [map] sort by distance
Subject Areas: Computer Science / Programming Languages
Ornithology / Ornithology
Statistics / Data Science
Appl Deadline:2022/11/11 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2022/09/26, finished 2023/03/13)
Position Description:    

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

Postdoctoral Associate, Quantitative Ecologist
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Center for Avian Population Studies
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Ithaca, NY

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply. 

About Us: 

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, and 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 postdoc will work with a dynamic interdisciplinary group of ecologists and data analysts within the Center for Avian Population Studies. Diversity and inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We’re an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and individuals with disabilities. We particularly encourage applications from individuals of under-represented minority groups within science. 

The Cornell Lab is committed to fostering a healthy workplace that values diverse perspectives and backgrounds as well as supporting growth and advancement opportunities. The Lab welcomes staff who are still learning in their careers and who are motivated to take on new challenges.

Job Description/Position Function:

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. The Postdoctoral Associate will examine population change from a large-scale demographic perspective, relying on ‘big data’ resources that can be readily generalized across many species. The postdoc will collaborate with Cornell Lab’s quantitative team to develop macro-demographic indices of avian recruitment and mortality, 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. These novel indices will be related to environmental data, to gain mechanistic insights into how climate extremes are driving population changes, and to assess how macro-scale demographic patterns scale down to individual ecoregions and local sites. 


  • Develop and validate 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. (20%)
  • Describe the primary macro-scale demographic patterns and characteristics of the North-American migration system, and test hypothesized mechanisms for these patterns by quantifying the associations between the macro-demographic indices and extreme climatic events. (40%)
  • Present results at professional meetings, conferences, and popular seminars. Prepare peer reviewed papers and other research products. (25%)
  • Engage in ongoing academic and intellectual life within the Center for Avian Population Studies at the Lab of Ornithology and at Cornell University. (10%)
  • Participate in general project management and working directly with internal and external project collaborators. Perform related projects and special duties as assigned. (5%)

Term of position: 

This is a full-time appointment, appointed annually up to two years, with the second year conditional on satisfactory performance and available funding. 

Required Qualifications: 

  • PhD in (quantitative) ecology, applied statistics, or a related field with 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

Preferred Qualifications:

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

Salary or Rewards/Benefits:

Salary commensurate with experience.

Cornell provides great benefits that include professional development, access to wellness programs, employee discounts with local and national retail brands, broad range of comprehensive health care options, and generous paid leave provisions:  3 weeks of vacation, 13 holidays (including end of year winter break), paid family leave, and superior retirement contributions.

Application Instructions: 

Please send a letter of interest in the position, Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, curriculum vitae, 1 example publication and appendix code, and the names and contact details for two references.  Application materials should be submitted to Academic Jobs Online at Inquiries about position specifics can be directed to Dr. Adriaan Dokter (  Review of applicants will begin October 15th, 2022 and continue until the position is filled.

Familiarize yourself with Cornell’s COVID-19 workplace guidance as well as the university’s COVID-19 services and information

Employment Assistance:

For specific questions about the position or application process, please contact the Recruiter listed in the job posting or for general questions email

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 Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX at voice (607) 255-2242, or email at

Applicants that do not have internet access are encouraged to visit your local library, or local Department of Labor. You may also request an appointment to use a dedicated workstation in the Office of Talent Attraction and Recruitment, at the Ithaca campus, by emailing

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, and we do not tolerate discrimination based on any protected characteristic, including race, ethnic or national origin, citizenship and immigration status, color, sex/gender, pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, age, creed, religion, actual or perceived disability (including persons associated with such a person), arrest and/or conviction record, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender expression and/or identity, an individual’s genetic information, domestic violence victim status, familial status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations in accordance with applicable law. 

Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff to all identities and backgrounds. We encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.

Pay Ranges:

The hiring rate of pay for the successful candidate will be determined considering the following criteria:

  • Prior relevant work or industry experience.
  • Education level to the extent education is relevant to the position.
  • Academic Discipline (faculty pay ranges reflects 9-month annual salary)
  • Unique applicable skills.

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:
email address
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, New York 14850