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Assistant Scientist and Director, Stoddard Lab of Ornithology

Tall Timbers
Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time
Location Detail:
The position will be located at the 4,000 acre campus of Tall Timbers in
Tallahassee, Florida. Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and a vibrant small city
surrounded by private and public conservation lands. More information on Tallahassee: More information on Tall Timbers:
Job Description:

Tall Timbers is recruiting a scientist to lead avian ecology research in the Stoddard Bird Lab (SBL). The scientist will focus their research and outreach efforts on avian ecology, conservation, and management within fire-maintained ecosystems of the southeastern US. Tall Timbers Research Station is home to several long-term projects that support this goal, including an on-going regional census of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and their cavity trees, regional Red-cockaded Woodpecker translocation and artificial cavity construction, a demographic study of the Brown-headed Nuthatch, and long-term survey data for regional avifauna. SBL has historically focused on our rare opportunity to work in nearby old-growth pine savannas where southeastern birds and other taxa can be assessed under reference conditions. The Red Hills region and conservation lands across north Florida and south Georgia offer an unparalleled natural laboratory to study rare species associated with frequently burned ecosystems.

Tall Timbers has been at the center of avian research since its founding in 1958. This endowed position is named for our founder, eminent ornithologist Herbert Stoddard. The incumbent will work with a team of engaged, collaborative scientists at Tall Timbers that focus on game birds, fire ecology, and broader prescribed fire research. Tall Timbers’ campus is located on a 4,000 acre property near Tallahassee, Florida and we also own the 9,000 acre Livingston Place in nearby Jefferson County. The region is rich in potential collaborators across universities, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USGS, USDA Forest Service R&D, state and federal land management agencies, and NGOs focused on birds and conservation.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The scientist will lead efforts on increasing the scientific understanding of avian species in frequently burned ecosystems. Red-cockaded woodpeckers have been a long-term focus of the SBL and will feature prominently in future work. Prioritizing other rare birds and other fauna in these ecosystems will be fundamental to the position’s success. We anticipate that the scientist will help develop novel tools that conserve rare species and restore extirpated populations. Providing solutions to threats posed by climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and reductions in the use of prescribed fire will be a priority.

A critical aspect of this position and the SBL is engagement with the public and conservation partners. The scientist will be actively engaged in public education and outreach using field trips, civic presentations, and will contribute to popular media. Past work in the SBL has engaged university students, regional bird conservation organizations, landowners, and the general public, increasing the public support for avian conservation across the region.

The incumbent will be expected to build a dynamic, collaborative team focused on relevant topics in the southeastern Coastal Plain and beyond. The proximity to Florida State University and Florida A&M University, both in Tallahassee, offers additional potential to build novel partnerships that leverage local capacity. The scientist will lead place-based research at Tall Timbers and Livingston Place as well as other private and public lands in the region. Tall Timbers scientists are expected to publish high-quality research in leading outlets, to generate external funding to support world-class research, and to be responsive to applied needs of the conservation community. Supervision of technicians and staff, service on graduate student committees, and a collaborative spirit are expectations of all scientists at Tall Timbers. Scientists are expected to develop proposals in response to related RFPs and interact with numerous academic, NGO, and federal scientists of diverse academic backgrounds.


Minimum Qualifications:

A completed Master’s degree and evidence of enrollment in a Ph.D. program in avian ecology, ornithology, or a related field. The candidate should have experience designing

and implementing field experiments, advanced statistical analysis, and professional writing as evidenced by publication in peer-reviewed outlets. Candidate should be

highly motivated with the ability to work independently. Enthusiasm and potential for field-based study and long-term research.

Preferred Qualifications:

A Ph.D. in the aforementioned fields. A strong understanding and subject matter expertise in avian ecology, with a focus on avifauna of frequently burned southeastern ecosystems. Background in Red-cockaded woodpecker research and other rare species is preferred. Past experience mentoring staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and post-doctoral research scientists is an asset. A network of collaborators, extramural funding experience, and engagement with professional societies an advantage. 


Workplace Environment and Commitment to Diversity:

Tall Timbers is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We strongly encourage applications from historically underrepresented groups and those that add to

and engage local communities. 

Scientists at Tall Timbers are provided 10 months annual salary, with 2 months garnered through external grants and contracts. Startup support, including field vehicle, support staff, office and lab space at Tall Timbers, and access to field sites at Tall Timbers and Livingston Place, will be provided.
How to Apply:

Applications should include

1) a letter of interest that includes educational and

experiential preparation


2) a current CV in a single PDF.

All applications should be

emailed to with the subject “Stoddard Application.”

Contact: Dr. J. Morgan Varner, Research Director & Senior Scientist


Contact Phone: 850-893-4153 x224

Applications Reviewed: September 9, 2023

Position Start Date: Fall/Winter 2023/2024 (negotiable)

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