Secondary forests and the carbon cycle

Graduate student opening on the role of secondary forests in the earth system at Montana State University

The Ecosystem Dynamics lab at Montana State University ( has an opening for a graduate student to complete a PhD on research related to questions on secondary forest dynamics and their role in the global carbon cycle. Secondary forests are recognized as playing a key role in the net land sink and represent up to 40-50% of forests worldwide. Because of their importance in the global carbon cycle, representing secondary forests in earth system models is a critical issue. The Ecosystem Dynamics lab uses ecological process-based modeling approaches in combination with forest inventory and remote sensing datasets to better understand questions on where secondary forests are located and how they function at the ecosystem scale. The proposed graduate research includes implementing a secondary forest tiling scheme into an existing dynamic global vegetation model and developing age-related processes relevant for forest development. The student is expected to have an enthusiasm for ecosystem science and land management, as well as a desire to use quantitative methods in modeling to achieve their goals. Experience is programming is a plus, but not required, open source tools will be used, including UNIX OS, and C++, CDO, NCL, R and shell scripting languages. The student will be expected to present research at conferences, write up results of the research in peer-reviewed literature, and collaborate with scientists across several disciplines. Three years of salary and tuition are guaranteed, and an additional 2 years of support will be expected to come from fellowship sources. Montana State University is located nearby Yellowstone National Park in Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman is a dynamic community with lots of outdoors, cultural, and learning opportunities. The position begins in summer 2014, with enrollment in courses to begin in August 2014. Please contact Dr. Ben Poulter, with a 1-page letter of interest, a CV, and contact information for 3 references. Applications will be considered as they are submitted, with an open deadline until filled.