Recruiting a social-ecological systems postdoc

UPDATE: I’m no longer accepting applications for postdoc candidates for these competitions. A new call for postdocs will likely occur in mid June 2015. I encourage you to be in touch then. Best, HL


Applications are due November 1.

The Leslie Lab at Brown University is recruiting postdoctoral research associates interested in empirical and theoretical research related to coupled social-ecological marine systems. Candidates should send a short email outlining their interest to Heather_Leslie(at), after reviewing the information below and the funding opportunities available through SESYNC’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and Brown University’s Voss Postdoctoral Program. 



I welcome inquiries from creative and passionate researchers trained in a wide array of disciplines related to coupled social-ecological systems. Candidates with substantial mathematical modeling expertise, whether from a natural or social science perspective, are particularly welcome, as are candidates with a demonstrated ability to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team with researchers from multiple institutions, cultures, and career stages.

– Heather Leslie, Brown University

Areas of particular interest include:

  1. Investigating the dynamics of coupled social-ecological systems associated with small-scale fisheries in Baja California Sur, Mexico. I lead an interdisciplinary team of social-ecological system researchers from Mexico and the US. Together, we are investigating how the dynamics of the social-ecological systems associated with small-scale fisheries in Mexico’s Gulf of California are mediated by both institutional and biophysical factors, and how these systems respond to exogenous shocks, including climate variability and changes in political and economic conditions. We integrate natural and social science knowledge using a diverse array of qualitative and quantitative approaches in order to generate new coupled systems science that is directly relevant to policy and management in this region and other coastal marine systems around the world (e.g., Leslie et al. 2009, Reddy et al. 2013, Sievanen 2014).[1] I welcome project proposals related to this theme, particularly from candidates with substantial expertise in ecological theory, oceanography, and/or complex systems.
  1. Comparative analyses of the sustainability of coupled social-ecological marine systems. The place-based research in Mexico, together with earlier comparative projects on conservation outcomes (e.g., Leslie 2005, Sievanen et al. 2011), illustrate my interest in cross-site, comparative analyses of coupled social-ecological marine system dynamics. Using Ostrom’s social-ecological systems framework and the substantial qualitative and quantitative data we have gathered on the human and ecological dimensions of small scale fisheries over the last five years, we have identified distinct social-ecological systems in different parts of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Our approach enables a quantitative, cross-site comparison of SES dynamics and is not limited to fisheries-focused studies. I am eager to apply this and related quantitative approaches (bio-economic modeling; network analysis; multi criteria analyses) to a broader set of geographies in order to study the dynamics and outcomes of marine SESs, and welcome inquiries from prospective postdoctoral fellows in this area.
  1. Developing the theoretical foundation for coupled social-ecological systems science. Coupled social-ecological systems is an emerging field with strong roots in varied fields, including but not limited to ecology and evolution, economics, complex systems science, geography, anthropology, and environmental sociology. Yet the theoretical foundations of this field are still in a nascent stage, in contrast to the related disciplines. I am eager to work with young scholars who have ideas about how to develop and test theories of coupled social-ecological systems dynamics. Candidates with training in theoretical biology, applied math, and/or both the quantitative and critical social sciences are particularly welcome.

1. For references, please ‘Publications’ on the Leslie Lab website,