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Detecting Iceplant from Space Postdocs (2 positions) at NCEAS

Position overview

Position title: Detecting Iceplant from Space Postdocs (2 positions) at NCEAS
Salary range: The posted UC system-wide salary scales set the minimum pay based on prior months of postdoc service (both domestic and international) before the start of appointment. See Table 23 and 23N (Hourly) for experience level minimums. A reasonable estimated full-time rate for this position at 100% time is $64,480- $77,327. Salaries that are higher than the published system-wide salary at the designated experience level minimum, are offered when necessary to meet competitive conditions. Full UCSB postdoc benefits package included.
Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: January 1, 2024 or later
Position duration: 2 Years

Application Window

Open date: October 31, 2023

Next review date: Monday, Dec 4, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Sunday, Jun 30, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description


The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UCSB seeks two postdoctoral fellows to help lead a newly funded program focused on using remotely sensed imagery to monitor iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) infestations for biodiversity conservation. Built on a recent NCEAS project on identifying invasive iceplant along the Santa Barbara County coast by leveraging remote sensing, cloud computing, and machine learning, this project will develop a rapid, scalable approach to monitor and assess distribution and change in invasive iceplant at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve (JLDP), a 24,460-acre nature preserve in Santa Barbara County managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). As part of this three year project, this postdoctoral cohort will work collaboratively with a dynamic project team, including scientific leads at NCEAS and scientists and restoration experts from TNC. Together, this team will work to create an end-to-end machine learning pipeline to analyze large Earth observation data streams and in situ field data to map invasive iceplant and understand its invasion trajectory and impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. This is a two-year long position, with the potential for additional time, and will be based at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, California.


Iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) has become a highly invasive plant species in coastal California, forming large monospecific zones that compete for resources with native plant species, including threatened and endangered species. Despite iceplant’s widespread impact, we do not comprehensively know where and how much it is spreading. This project will provide preserve managers at the JLDP and beyond with accurate and actionable information to enable coordinated scaling of iceplant removal and habitat restoration while advancing our understanding of how to scale machine learning applications to Earth observation across space and time. As a successful postdoctoral fellow, you will use your analytical skills and knowledge to lead the development of a data analysis workflow to map the geographical extent of iceplant and obtain geostatistics on currently impacted ecosystems by leveraging remotely sensed and in situ data coupled with cloud computing and machine learning methods. This position will give you significant opportunities to maximize your research's impact and work at the interface of ecological synthesis science and applied management solutions. You will not only be part of an invasive species focused research team, but also a diverse and growing cohort of postdocs and researchers at NCEAS in downtown Santa Barbara, California.


  • Lead analysis and synthesis of remotely sensed data to develop open, reproducible workflows to identify invasive iceplant, primarily at the JLDP;
  • Engage with preserver managers, scientists, and restoration experts working on ecosystem restoration and invasive species management;
  • Lead writing and publication of scientific developments in peer review journals.


NCEAS is located in scenic downtown Santa Barbara, California. The Center is known for fostering interaction and collaboration, a characteristic that leads to the success of its scientists. NCEAS has a growing and thriving community of postdocs, resident scientists, and analysts, and a frequent influx of leading scientists and practitioners from around the world participating in working group projects across a diverse range of initiatives. NCEAS is also a leader in data science training, offering courses and expertise in reproducible workflows, data infrastructure, and environmental statistics. We expect that postdocs will contribute their knowledge, interests, and enthusiasm to the intellectual atmosphere. The postdoc should anticipate spending the vast majority of their time in residence at the Center and will have the opportunity to travel to relevant national and international events and conferences, with a special focus on meeting and networking opportunities across the Western US and Canada.

NCEAS is committed to improving diversity and inclusion in science. We value the diversity of expertise, backgrounds, needs, and experiences reflected among our residents, visitors, and broader communities. We are committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity, parental status, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, citizenship status, and nationality. To see the steps we are taking to advance diversity and inclusion please see our full statement here:

The department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching, and service.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

At the time of application, applicants must have completed all requirements except the dissertation for a PhD in environmental science, remote sensing, ecology, data science, or a relevant discipline.

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

Ph.D. in environmental science, remote sensing, ecology, data science, or a relevant discipline at time of appointment.

Preferred qualifications
  • Strong analytical and modeling skills, including data science, database management, data visualization, etc.
  • Proficient using Python to analyze and visualize geospatial data.
  • Experience working with remotely sensed data such as Planet, Landsat, or NAIP
  • Strong publication record
  • Regional knowledge of the North American West ecosystems and people
  • Ability to review and synthesize large amounts of literature and complex information
  • Ability to take initiative and work both independently and as part of a research team
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to translate complex scientific information and effectively communicate with a variety of audiences
  • Strong networking and relationship-building skills and interest in building broad collaborations
  • Experience working with groups outside of academia (agency, industry, NGOs, etc.)
  • Demonstrates an understanding and acceptance of diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts that are broader than only race, ethnicity, and gender.

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter - We encourage your cover letter to include:

    Interest in the position
    Qualifications related to the position
    Experience supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

Name and contact information for three references. The top candidate's references will be contacted before the final job offer.

Apply link:

Help contact:

About UC Santa Barbara

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs, as may be amended or revised from time to time. Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

Job location

Santa Barbara, CA