Postdoctoral Research Associate in Soil Science

University of California Davis Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Soil Science/ Agroecology/Agronomy/Hydrology

Job #JPF04717
  • LAND AIR & WATER RESOURCES / Agricultural and Environmental Sciences / UC Davis

Application Window

Open date: February 4th, 2022

Next review date: Sunday, Feb 20, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 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

Postdoctoral Scholar Opportunity at University of California, Davis
PI: Dr. Xia Zhu Barker
Dept of LAWR, Soil Biogeochemistry Lab

The Soil Biogeochemistry Lab ( at the University of California-Davis is seeking a post-doctoral research associate with training in soil science, agronomy, agroecology or hydrology or related discipline to examine the impacts of compost and cover crops on specialty crop systems (i.e., olive and walnut orchards). California is the nation’s largest agricultural producing state and has the largest specialty crop acreage. This position provides a unique opportunity to combine scientific research with the needs of the commodity industry. This is a multi-partner effort involving experts from UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis Olive Center, UC Davis and industry collaborators.

The postdoctoral research associate will be responsible for evaluating cover crop mixes and composts on soil carbon and nitrogen transformations, water use, tree nitrogen uptake, soil health and the economics of cover crop and compost use. The incumbent will also be expected to conduct and contribute to extension activities and prepare both research and extension publications. The goal of the study is to understand how cover crops and compost impact the carbon, nitrogen and water cycles in orchards to inform development of nitrogen management guidelines and improve adoption of cover crops and the use of composts to support soil health. Experience in ecological isotope applications and/or biogeochemical models is highly desirable.

The incumbent will develop hypotheses based on current literature, design and conduct experiments, perform work in the laboratory and field, analyze data, and prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. It is expected that the postdoctoral associate will lead a minimum of two high-impact peer reviewed scientific articles with the supervision of Dr. Zhu-Barker and collaborators. In addition, the postdoc will be expected to supervise a PhD student and undergraduate student assistants, in charge of lab equipment such as Gas Chromatography and interact with other lab members. The postdoctoral associate will work independently with minimal supervision. This is a full time, 12-month appointment with one additional year available depending on performance and funding availability.


  1. Experimental design,
  2. Communication with collaborators including growers,
  3. Field sample collection, processing and analyzing,
  4. Data analysis and interpretation,
  5. Review of relevant literature,
  6. Preparation of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals,
  7. Conduct and participate extension activities,
  8. Mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students.

Application / How to apply: To apply, please go to the following link:

Applicants should submit the following:

  1. Cover letter (one page): explaining why you are interested in this position and what makes you a good candidate for it,
  2. CV,
  3. Names and contact information for 3-4 references familiar with your work.

Review of applications will start after 2/20/2022 (Sunday), and the position will remain open until filled.

For further information about the position, email any questions to Dr. Xia Zhu-Barker ( with "Postdoctoral research position at UC Davis" in the subject line.

The positions will remain open until filled with a preferred start date of 04/01/2022.



Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

PhD in soil science, agronomy, agroecology or another relevant field and research experience in soil microbiology, microbial ecology, or a relevant field.

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

• Expertise in soil nitrogen and/or carbon cycles,
• Experience with isotope ecological applications,
• Evidence of effective data analysis, scientific writing and publication.

Preferred qualifications

• Experience with soil water movement,
• Experience with process-based models (e.g. DayCent and DNDC),
• Experience with perennial cropping systems,
• Experience with Gas Chromatography Instrument,
• Experience with cover crops and composts.

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Cover Letter (one page) - Statement explaining why you are interested in this position and what makes you a good candidate for it.
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
Reference requirements
  • 3-4 required (contact information only)
Apply link:

Help contact:

Campus Information

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We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

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Job location

Davis, CA