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Postdoctoral Associate - Iowa State University

Department of Agronomy

Position Focus: Evaluation of Surrogate Measurement Methods for Tile Drainage Nitrate

Appointment: 12-month, full-time; appointment beyond first year dependent on continued funding. Position available immediately.

Project Description: Nitrogen management practice effects on nitrate loss to surface waters are optimally determined through measurement of nitrate-N concentrations in tile water flow at specially developed water quality sites. Such sites are limited in number and have restraints on the number of practices that can be studied. Therefore, there is a critical need to develop surrogate methods that allow evaluation of in-field management practices that reasonably estimate nitrate-N concentrations comparable to measurement in tile flow drainage. Successful surrogate methods could substantially reduce the cost of water quality research and broaden practices evaluated. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy mentions the desire to add innovative practices and new technology that are documented to have a positive effect on reducing nitrate loss to surface waters. Therefore, accelerated evaluation of management practices is needed.

Position Responsibilities: The Postdoctoral Associate will conduct field research at existing drainage water quality sites, with focus on soil and soil water measurement techniques within on-going nitrogen management practices; such as time of nitrogen application, nitrification inhibitor, and cover crop. The Associate will examine published literature to refine research protocols and sampling equipment/techniques needed, carryout field installation and sample collection, conduct data analysis and summarization, and develop required reports and publications. Work will be accomplished in coordination with on-going water quality project personnel and research farm personnel, and requires supervision of student hourly workers.

Qualifications: An earned PhD in soil science, agronomy, natural resources, agricultural or civil engineering, environmental science, or similar program. The candidate should have knowledge and/or experience in soil and water monitoring. A record of scholarly publications, including author/coauthor of peer-reviewed publications is strongly preferred. The candidate must be self-motivated and have a demonstrated record of working in multi-disciplinary teams.

Salary: Competitive and commensurate with experience.

Effective: Applications accepted until the position is filled.

Application Process: Submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to John Sawyer, Professor, Department of Agronomy, 3208 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. For questions regarding this position, contact John Sawyer at (515-294-7078) or Matthew Helmers at (515-294-6717). Email applications are preferred.


Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran.