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Postdoctoral Researcher: Seed Ecology & Restoration

Requisition Number: 
Conservation Science
Job Status: 
The postdoctoral research associate will work for two years, leading a project on genetic and environmental controls on seed dormancy in native midwestern Viola species, and implications for seed production and restoration use. This project integrates greenhouse and lab work to understand how genotypic variation and phenotypic plasticity drive variation in conditions required to break dormancy in native violet species.

This project is a collaboration among Andrea Kramer and Kay Havens of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Linda MacKechnie of Ball Horticultural Company. The postdoc will be based at the Chicago Botanic Garden, with potential use of lab and greenhouses at Ball Horticultural Company. Because this project is a collaboration between different types of institutions (botanic garden and horticultural industry), there are unique opportunities for the postdoc to experience research, mentoring, and teaching in different environments.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following:

  • Coordinate a greenhouse- and lab-based investigation of genotypic variation and phenotypic plasticity in germination traits of one or more native midwestern Viola.
  • Co-mentor graduate student(s) as part of the graduate program in plant biology and conservation, associated with Northwestern University.
  • Mentor undergraduate students (teaching and curriculum-development opportunities will be offered through the graduate program in plant biology and conservation, associated with Northwestern University).
  • Liaise with native seed growers and land managers to develop additional research aimed at informing nursery production and restoration practices for native Viola.
  • Lead publications arising from research.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Ph.D. in botany, evolutionary biology, ecology, or a related field.
  • Experience with quantitative genetics, preferably in the area of heritability and phenotypic plasticity.
  • Experience with seed ecology.
  • Experience, or desire to gain experience, with designing and applying research to inform restoration.
Physical Demands: 
This position will be based at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The majority of time for this position will be spent designing and implementing greenhouse- and lab-based studies, as well as analyzing data. However, there are opportunities (encouraged) for fieldwork associated with this project, working with local nursery growers and land managers who seek to improve outcomes when using these species in restoration efforts.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.