Post Doc Opportunity: Plant-Soil-Geologic Relationships, University of California, Davis

“Qualified applicants are sought for an interdisciplinary study of plant-soil-geologic relationships.

“Requirements include a completed PhD in a relevant discipline; research and educational experience that bridges plant ecology, soil science, and/or earth sciences; and a strong academic record. Familiarity with ultramafic (serpentine) rocks, soils, and vegetation and experience with geographic information systems (GIS) would be advantageous. The successful applicant will develop and carry out research that meets the goals of the project described below, working with substantial independence under the supervision of an ecologist, a soil scientist and a geologist.

“Plant species and communities on ultramafic (“serpentine”) rocks and soils contribute greatly to California’s outstanding botanical diversity. Such species confined to island-like exposures of special soil presumably have extremely limited abilities to survive climatic warming through either latitudinal or elevational migration. In three existing, funded projects, we are experimentally assessing the limits to natural and assisted migration in serpentine plants. In the proposed work, we will deepen our understanding of the role of geologic and soil variation in determining such limits.

“Specifically, we will ask (1) Are widespread and fire-dependent chaparral shrub species locally adapted, either to ultramafic versus sandstone-derived soils, or to north versus south slopes (2) Do ultramafic soils on north versus south slopes differ systematically in their chemical and/or physical properties, in ways that may limit the ability of endemic plant species to shift their distributions to cooler locations (3) Given adequate information on geologic and soil variation, can we predict locations at which serpentine-endemic species may be successfully transplanted or restored.”