Postdoctoral Researcher, Tree Conservation - Full-time, Term-limit
Lisle, IL
Full Time

Position Summary:
Design, implement and oversee applied research that advances tree species and forest conservation goals, in alignment with goals of the Global Tree Conservation Program (GTCP) and the Center for Tree Science (CTS), and in collaboration with local and international partners. Provide support for the development, coordination, communication, and administration of initiatives and activities of the GTCP and CTS at The Morton Arboretum, with special focus on projects relating to threatened trees in priority geographic regions and biodiversity hotspots. Contribute to the training of future scientists by mentoring and advising students and interns. Funding for this position is temporary with an expected duration of twenty four months, with potential for extension. 

Essential Functions:

  • Design and conduct applied research projects that advance tree species and ecosystem conservation, with an emphasis on in-situ activities, preferably in Mesoamerica or Southeast Asia.

  • Prepare and submit scientific articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals, as well as other articles in areas that align with the priorities of GTCP and CTS.

  • Disseminate research topics and results to different audiences (internally, professionally and to public audiences), including international audiences, using a variety of media and communication tools.

  • Successfully create and maintain collaborations with stakeholders, external research groups and institutions to advance mutual conservation research goals.

  • Identify external funding opportunities and lead in the writing of proposals to fund field activities. Coordinate reporting and budgets of externally funded projects related to the position.

  • Build capacity in priority geographic regions by providing mentoring, training, and collaborating in proposal-writing and project management activities with local partners.

  • Participate in CTS’s Integrated Mentorship Program by mentoring students and interns.

  • Lead the “Science Seminar” as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the Arboretum, which entails teaching a 2hr/week seminar during 10 weeks in summer, and participating in several professional development activities.

  • Support, attend, and/or coordinate GTCP and CTS events and activities including conferences, workshops, and webinars.

  • Contribute to the Science and Conservation department through collaboration, providing scientific input and guidance, and engaging in departmental activities such as Monday Tree Talks and occasional discussion and planning meetings.

  • Other duties as assigned. 

Ph.D. in botany, biology, forestry. ecology, conservation, environmental science, geography, or a related science required with demonstrated successful track record of independent research, scientific publication, grant writing, and commitment to biodiversity conservation. Research experience in Mesoamerica or Southeast Asia strongly preferred with the ability to work independently in remote settings. Fluency in the language appropriate to the geographic region of focus preferred. Demonstrated project management experience, excellent communication skills, and ability to work with culturally-diverse partners and local stakeholders necessary. Experience mentoring and teaching students is preferred. Proficiency with spatial analysis techniques, management of biodiversity data, statistics, Nature-based solutions (NbS), environmental policy, or other integrative conservation frameworks is beneficial. Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report. 

Success Factors:
Strong interest and experience in science-based, stakeholder-inclusive, culturally-conscious conservation research of threatened plant species and ecosystems. Ability to independently develop and manage research projects and collaborate internationally with diverse partners and agencies. Ability to mentor students and lead them through the development of research skills. Understanding of national and international conservation policies. Strong written and oral communication, and problem-solving skills. Ability to embrace and align with our employee core values to take ownership, work together, keep learning and make the Arboretum exceptional.


Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Work requires some physical activity: sitting for extended periods of time. Air travel required, including international destinations. Ability to conduct outdoor ecological research in remote locations, including hiking with equipment.

  • Work Environment:  Work is performed primarily indoors in office and lab settings, with some outdoor work required, in a variety of weather conditions..

  • Equipment: General office equipment, forestry and ecological tools and equipment,   basic laboratory analytical equipment.


For full consideration, please include cover letter and resume with application.

We will start reviewing applications October 1st, 2021

All Arboretum employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of that status in order to maintain their employment.

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success. The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status. To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment. 

Loading Job Application......

If you have questions, please contact