The Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park is a leader in integrated research on the coupled human and physical dimensions of global change, remote sensing, and Geospatial Information Science. The Department of Geographical Sciences is seeking applicants for a postdoctoral research position to work in Dr. Laura Duncanson’s research group, focusing on lidar remote sensing for forest ecology. The research project is funded by a new NSF grant which seeks to develop an Institute for Biodiversity Forecasting. This project brings together ecologists, environmental engineers, data scientists, and conservation stakeholders to determine optimal ways to integrate novel data sources to make near term forecasts for biodiversity at a global scale by addressing changes in (1) species’ abundance and geographic distribution, (2) community structure, and (3) ecosystem function. This position will focus primarily on the structural aspects of the wider project, using NASA’s GEDI data to explore relationships between forest structure and biodiversity at a global scale.

The position will involve the processing and interpretation of NASA GEDI waveform lidar products, as well as exploration of other data streams that may aid in linking forest structure and function (e.g. Landsat, ICESat-2, OCO). This will be a minimum two-year position and involve working toward a larger proposal with the wider project team.

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About University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park (commonly referred to as the University of Maryland, UMD, or simply Maryland) is a public research university in College Park, Maryland.[10] Founded in 1856, UMD is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, and is the largest university in both the state and the Washington metropolitan area, with more than 41,000 students representing all fifty states and 123 countries, and a global alumni network of over 360,000. Its twelve schools and colleges together offer over 200 degree-granting programs, including 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master’s programs, and 83 doctoral programs. UMD is a member of the Association of American Universities and competes in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

The University of Maryland’s proximity to the nation’s capital has resulted in many research partnerships with the federal government; faculty receive research funding and institutional support from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security. It is classified as one of 115 first tier research universities in the country by the Carnegie Foundation, and is labeled a “Public Ivy”, denoting a quality of education comparable to the private Ivy League. UMD is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities both nationally and globally by several indexes.

In 2016, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore formalized their strategic partnership after their collaboration successfully created more innovative medical, scientific, and educational programs, as well as greater research grants and joint faculty appointments than either campus has been able to accomplish on its own. As of 2017, the operating budget of the University of Maryland is approximately $2.1 billion.[27][28] For the 2018 fiscal year, the university received a total of over $545 million in external research funding. In October 2017, the university received a record-breaking donation of $219.5 million from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, ranking among the largest philanthropic gifts to a public university in the country.