Postdoctoral Research Associate (Invasive Plants through Global Trade)

Website Arkansas State University


The Marsico Lab at Arkansas State University is actively recruiting a postdoctoral research associate to begin as early as January 1, 2024.  This is a 12-month position, with the potential to renew for an additional year based on performance and available funding.  A focus in the Marsico Lab and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute is providing a sense of belonging, inclusivity, and meaningful support to students, faculty, and staff from a variety of backgrounds.  Applicants who are minorities underrepresented in science are highly encouraged to apply.

The Marsico Lab has funded projects that focus on biosecurity: foundational theories in invasion ecology and applied ecology investigating risks posed by and solutions for preventing invasive plant species.  Some of the research involves field botany in diverse ecosystems of the southeastern United States and Panama.  Specifically, we work with the Georgia Ports Authority and the Panama Canal Authority to screen shipping containers and breakbulk cargo for hitchhiking plant species and conduct floristic inventories for early detection and rapid response for high-risk species that are not yet naturalized.  A particular focus is on the Federal Noxious Weed species Saccharum spontaneum (wild sugarcane), which has high influx into the United States on a shipping route through the Panama Canal Region.  We are investigating the evolutionary potential for wild sugarcane to establish and spread throughout the continental United States.  Collaborations are ongoing with Dr. Rima Lucardi’s research lab at the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Dr. Emily Bellis at Avalo, a genome analysis industry partner, and Dr. Kristin Saltonstall at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Funding for the full-time position with university employee health and retirement benefits comes from research grants to Dr. Travis Marsico.

Arkansas State University is a comprehensive, state-supported, doctoral university with a high level of research activity (R2).  Jonesboro is a community of 80,000 people located in Northeast Arkansas, amid the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and Crowley’s Ridge ecoregions.  We are a 1-hour drive away from Memphis, Tennessee, and the Ozark Highlands.  Jonesboro boasts being a regional center for quality healthcare, having a variety of dining and entertainment options, a low cost of living, and plenty of recreational opportunities.

To apply, please provide 1) a cover letter describing your interest, career goals, and relevant research experiences and skills, 2) your full Curriculum Vitae [including names and contact information for at least three, preferably five, references], and 3) a copy of your unofficial academic transcripts.  Upload the application to the job website here:

For additional information or to discuss the position in advance of applying, please email Dr. Travis Marsico at to set up a meeting.

Application review will begin on November 30, 2023, with interviews and hiring decisions made shortly thereafter.


We seek applicants who have completed a Ph.D. in Biology, Botany, Plant Biology, Ecology, Genetics, Environmental Sciences, or related field.  Applicants should have a strong desire for scientific discovery and dissemination through peer-reviewed publication.  Enthusiasm for mentoring graduate students and undergraduates in research is key.  Demonstrated experience in one or more of the following is required: 1) plant identification using dichotomous keys in the southern United States and/or the Neotropics; 2) previous research and publication on causes and consequences of non-native plant species invasions; 3) development and use of invasive species risk models, genomic risk models, and/or spatially explicit models; 4) high-level of competency conducting analyses using geographic information systems (GIS); 5) genetic or genomic research experiences with grasses or other related polyploid species; 6) identification of seeds using morphological or genetic techniques; 7) experience curating, working in, or managing an herbarium.  Ability to work in a variety of field and laboratory conditions including marshlands, forests, roadsides, shipping ports, greenhouses, and academic laboratories is important.  Proficiency or fluency in written and oral communication in Spanish is a plus.

Duties and Responsibilities:

·       In consultation with the PI, implement research projects that fulfill objectives described in funded grants

·       Develop and implement related research projects that extend research reach

·       Work closely with graduate and undergraduate students in the lab and provide professional mentorship to them

·       Work closely with collaborative team members at USFS, Southern Research Station, Avalo, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

·       Lead analysis, interpretation, and writing of research outcomes for certain facets of the collaborative work

·       Attend regular meetings with the PI and weekly lab meetings

·       Lead meetings with students and teach necessary skills to members of the lab

·       Organize purchases and travel for research

·       Present research outcomes at professional meetings

·       Pursue professional development opportunities that provide preparation for next steps beyond the postdoctoral research position

·       Other duties as assigned

Contact Person: Dr. Travis Marsico

Contact Email:

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