Quantitative Ecology Research Fellow for Natural Capital

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Wakehurst, West Sussex
£32,000 - £35,000 pa, depending on skills and experience

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: ecology, conservation & wildlife, food, farming & horticulture

Closing date: Sunday, 22nd September 2019   6 days left


Fixed term contract (3 years)

The Research Fellow will bridge RBG Kew’s two sites (Kew Gardens and Wakehurst) and disciplines of science, horticulture and land management.

Within the Science Directorate, the post holder will be part of the Natural Capital & Plant Health Department, collaborating extensively with the Spatial Analysis and Data Science team. 

RBG Kew is a world-famous centre for botanical and mycological knowledge. Our two inspiring gardens enchant our visitors with the wonder of the world’s plant diversity; and we reach beyond our garden walls to excite and educate individuals and communities. We aim to be the global resource for plant and fungal knowledge, building an understanding of the world’s plants and fungi upon which all our lives depend.

Wakehurst is Kew’s wild botanic garden: a 211 Ha (535 acre) site interwoven with designed and wild landscapes from formal horticulture to dramatic exotic collections and extensive nature reserves. Established by RBG Kew as its new temperate plant collection in 1965, over 50 years of high-quality land management has fostered favourable habitats, notable biodiversity and an internationally significant living plant collection.

This group researches and develops geospatial techniques on plant and fungal diversity for conservation and to improve people’s livelihoods. Examples of expertise include:

  • Developing techniques in species distribution modelling and climate change projections, especially for useful and economically valuable species.
  • Investigating and developing methods for working with remotely sensed and Unmanned Aerial Vehicular imagery for species identification, plant health and abundance estimation
  • Developing novel spatial algorithms for Kew’s critical work on extinction risk assessments, quantifying fragmentation and isolation, area of occupancy, dispersal and population metrics, to increase both numbers and quality of species assessments.
  • Understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes driving plant and fungal distribution, for example, demography, functional traits, biotic interactions, dispersal and genetic diversity.

Key recent team outputs include:

Pironon et al. 2017. The ‘Hutchinsonian niche’ as an assemblage of demographic niches: implications for species geographic ranges. Ecography 41 (7), 1103-1113 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ecog.03414

Baena et al. 2017. Identifying species from the air: UAVs and the very high resolution challenge for plant conservation PloS ONE 12 (11), e0188714 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0188714

Davis et al. 2018. Coffee atlas of Ethiopia. (2018). RBG, Kew.

Pironon et al. 2019. Potential adaptive strategies for 29 Sub-Saharan crops under future climate change. Nature Climate Change (in press).

Cuesta, F., …..Tovar, C. 2019. New land in the Neotropics: a review of biotic community, ecosystem, and landscape transformations in the face of climate and glacier change. Regional Environmental ChangeDOI: 10.1007/s10113-019-01499-3

The Research Fellow will primarily research Wakehurst’s exceptional landscape, creating of natural capital asset and risk registers and research on key ecosystem services: carbon sequestration, hydrology, pollination service distribution and wellbeing. Rigorous research, innovative public engagement and development of metrics and methodologies valuable to policy makers will define this project.

Educated to doctoral level, you’ll be proficient in ecological modelling, remotely sensed data capture and analysis to model ecosystem services, with experience of public engagement. Your experience will include multidisciplinary working and productive internal and external partnerships. You’ll form effective partnerships with regional conservation partners, specialists such as economists and social scientists and develop data from citizen science, engaging Wakehurst’s public audiences. This will require sufficient proficiency in English to engage with these stakeholders at a very high level.

We offer a fantastic range of benefits including a broad range of Learning and Development opportunities, with access to the Civil Service training curriculum, generous annual leave entitlement for new starters, family friendly policies, a choice of competitive pensions and flexible benefits scheme.

If you are interested in this position, please click here to find out more.

Previous applicants need not re-apply.

Closing Date: 22/09/2019

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from all sections of the community. We guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

No agencies please.


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