Postdoctoral Researcher in Wildfire Analysis

The Department of Geography at the University of Victoria invites applications for a funded postdoctoral position focused on evaluating the relationship between weather, wildfire and mountain pine beetle outbreaks in western Canada.  This research is a collaboration between UVic, University of Guelph, and the Canadian Forest Service. The aim of the proposed research is to understand how MPB induced mortality, localized weather conditions and forest stand characteristics collectively contribute to landscape-level wildfires in order to mitigate overall damage to Alberta’s pine resources. As MPB has impacted millions of hectares of pine forest in western Canada since the mid-1990’s, there has been growing concern that the MPB-induced mortality will change wildfire ignitions and the total area burned. However, the complex nature in which MPB induced mortality influences wildfire has created an incomplete picture of the MPB-wildfire relationship. The postdoctoral researcher will thus be responsible for performing a range of statistical and computational analyses using rich empirical datasets on mountain pine beetle and wildfire occurrence to:

(1)    Determine if the number of wildfire ignitions is significantly different pre- and post-MPB outbreak periods across the range of susceptible hosts in Alberta and British Columbia; 

(2)    Determine the degree to which weather, forest stand characteristics, and year since MPB attack influence the probability of a large wildfire occurring in affected areas.

Required Qualifications
Candidates must have obtained a PhD in a discipline related to Geography, Forestry, Wildfire Science, Statistics or Computer Science, and must have knowledge on the literature and methods related to understanding landscape-level forest disturbances. 

In addition to the required qualifications, preference will be given to applicants with:

•    Computer programming experience and exceptional coding skills in R or Python;
•    Experience performing complex statistical analyses using multiple large spatial time series datasets
•    A publication record demonstrating the ability to lead research related to landscape-level forest disturbance
•    A demonstrated knowledge of wildfire and related processes
•    A demonstrated capacity to work independently to accomplish analytical and writing tasks
•    Experience working on team research projects

This is a 24-month position with a salary of $60,000 per year + benefits. The start date of the position is September 15, 2021. The successful candidate will work on the University of Victoria campus with periodic visits to the Pacific Forestry Centre offices in Victoria. 

Interested candidates should send their complete application in PDF format by August 15, 2021 to Dr. Chris Bone  at chrisbone@uvic.ca, including the following:

•    A cover letter describing how your background, experience, and motivation is aligned with the position description, and a list of three references;
•    A CV including complete publication list

Please be sure to write “Postdoc in Wildfire Analysis” in the subject line of the email. The evaluation of candidates will begin on August 16 and will continue until the position is filled. Only those candidates selected for further evaluation will be contracted for an interview.