Two Fungal Postdoctoral Positions – University of Oregon, Eugene

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Two Fungal Postdoctoral Positions - University of Oregon, Eugene

Seeking 2 Postdocs for an NSF supported project, “CLIMUSH”
Start date(s): sometime between Summer 2023 and Spring 2024

What the Postdocs will be doing and where they will be based:

One of the postdocs will be based at the University of Oregon in Eugene in the labs of mycologist Bitty Roy, ecologist Jeff Diez and computer scientist John Conery. This postdoctoral researcher will focus on analysis of sequence-based community ecology and fungal distributions, analyzing both sexual and asexual components of the lifecycle and interactions among climate, plant communities and fire.

One of the postdocs will be based in the mycological lab of Matthew Smith, at the University of Florida in Gainesville. This postdoctoral researcher will focus on analysis of fungal sequence data from a more taxonomic perspective, including phylogenetic analyses.

Both postdocs will enjoy the benefits of being part of a large collaborative study described below, including interactions with our diverse group of PIs (in alphabetical order: Betsy Arnold, John Conery, Jeff Diez, Peter Kennedy, Jean Lodge, Serita Frey, Bitty Roy, Matthew Smith, Jana U’ren and Andy Wilson).  We expect many publications to come out of this work, and we will also facilitate presentations by postdocs at meetings such as MSA.  We have 8 field sites across the country and there is opportunity for field and lab work as well as analysis.

Pay:  ±55,000/year and includes insurance and retirement benefits. One year appointment with the potential for an additional year.

Project description:

Understanding how regional climate, landscape disturbances such as fire, and local factors interact to affect ecosystem services is a critical macroecological problem. Macrofungi, defined as fungi with easily visible fruiting bodies, such as mushrooms, are essential components of ecosystems and help structure plant communities through mutualistic and pathogenic interactions, and drive carbon and other nutrient cycling. Yet, we know very little about how regional, landscape, and local factors combine to affect macrofungal distributions. One outstanding problem for understanding macrofungal distributions is that these fungi have a large component of their life history that is asexual and largely invisible, because they also live as hyphae in soil and inside plants forming mycorrhizal and endophytic symbioses. Recent work has shown that some macrofungi are living asexually inside plants as endophytes thousands of kilometers outside their known ranges based on their sexual reproduction (e.g., mushrooms). These extended asexual ranges suggest that there are different factors driving the distributions of sexual versus asexual stages of these fungi, which may severely complicate efforts to forecast how fungi will respond to ongoing climate change.

We are examining the distributions of both asexual and sexual stages of macrofungi across the United States by combining fruiting body collections with co-located samples of fungal DNA in soils, litter, plant tissues, and the air, at eight NEON and LTER sites across the continent. Using the extensive climatic and geographic scope of the study, containing diverse plant communities and fire disturbances, we will test how environmental variables at multiple scales influence distributions of sexual and asexual stages of fungi. We will also determine whether occurrence of a fungus in one stage (e.g., sporocarps) is predictive of its occurrence in other substrates at a site (e.g. soils, air, or plant tissues), allowing improved sampling schemes for fungi. Together, this study will build the most complete picture to date of how macrofungal communities and their phylogenetic relationships change across climate gradients, thus building capacity to predict changes in fungal distributions and ecosystem processes under changing climate.

How to Apply:

If you are interested, send your CV and the names and contact information for three references to Bitty & Jeff and Matt (,,; we will be doing the interviews together.  Please put CLIMUSH postdoc application in the email header.  Note that we will not start screening applications until January 15, 2023 and that applications will be accepted until we fill the positions. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive mycological community.