Skip to main content

Jr. Specialist, for the Biogeochemistry and Nutrient Cycling Lab , Dept of LAWR, UC Davis

Recruitment Period

Open date: October 7th, 2019
Last review date: Monday, Oct 21, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: Saturday, Nov 30, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


Junior Specialist—Horwath Biogeochemistry and Nutrient Cycling Lab, Dept. of LAWR, UCDavis


We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual to join the Soil Biogeochemistry and Nutrient Cycling team starting immediately. The successful candidate will support our team working on projects related to sustainable soil management (e.g. cover cropping and compost application) and soil health in various specialty crop production systems in California. The Junior Specialist will work closely with graduate students, extension specialists, project scientists and growers to support our investigation of resource use efficiency and climate change mitigation potential of the practices of winter cover cropping and compost application. The successful candidate will assist with: 1) field collection of soil, plant and gas samples, 2) lab analysis of chemical and physical soil health indicators, 3) writing and presentation of results to scientific community and stakeholders.

I. Research in specialized areas (90%)

45% Lab analysis include preparation of field equipment to be used for sampling
• Prepare equipment and supplies for field gas sampling.

• Prepare supplies for soil and plant sampling as required
• Conduct soil C and N pools, pH and moisture analysis
• Conduct Plant biomass and nutrient (N) analysis
• Analyze gas samples using gas chrometerography (GC)
• Analyze, synthesize, and manage collected data
• Conduct lab safety training of new members
• Maintain lab equipment and general lab organization

35% Field work
• Semi-regular soil and plant sampling in tomato and other crop systems (1+ times per month)
• Chamber based gas flux measurements: set-up, associated factors measured (temp primarily, but also management and field condition notes), take gas samples from chambers placed on soil, soil samples taken (monthly or more).
• Soil health factors: composite sampling in the field for other soil health indicators (annually)
• Soil physical properties: bulk density, infiltration, aggregate stability, etc. (annually)

10% Literature Review and Writing
• Conduct literature search for relevant articles to soil biogeochemistry, soil health and nutrient cycling.
• Work with PIs, graduate students and other members in the research team to plan and execute research projects
• Participate in discussions on research and the interpretation of research results
• Help write and review manuscripts for journal publication

II. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)
The Junior Specialist will be encouraged to participate local meetings, scientific discussions and seminars and co-author posters with a focus on topics relevant to the project.

III. University and Public Service (5%)
The Junior Specialist will provide mentorship for undergraduate students working in the laboratory and communicate with our stakeholders


-Bachelor of Science in Soil Science, Plant Science, Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry or related discipline.
[[Note: The junior specialist rank is an entry level position, accordingly it is inappropriate to hire applicants with advanced degrees in this field, or those with bachelor’s degrees and three years’ relevant work experience.] (See APM-UCD 330)]
-Valid driver’s license.
-Effective communication skills
-Experience working in a laboratory and in the field.
-Experience in Word and Excel or other appropriate computer programs to organize, summarize and analyzer data

Preferred qualifications:

-Strong organizational skills
-Experience in lab and field based chemical and physical analysis based on established protocols
-Experience in synthesizing of data based on instruction of the Principal Investigator or their designee(s).
-Ability to use computer-based equipment to run analysis and synthesize data.
-Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
-Time management and planning—to assure deadlines are met and field and lab-based work is completed and delivered to the PI.

SALARY RANGE: Step 1, $39,500.00/annually [100%] plus benefits.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: Full-time (100%) for 1-year, start by December 1, 2019 (or sooner) – November 30, 2020, with the potential to extend up to an additional 12 months upon satisfactory progress.

TO APPLY: To apply, please go to the following link:

Applicants should submit the following:

  1. Optional-Cover letter outlining your interest in the position as well as your experience relevant to this position (please include a diversity statement,
  2. Curriculum Vitae (resume) - Your most recently updated C.V. and
  3. References: contact information for 2-3 recent references. All letters of recommendation, if requested, will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Documents/materials must be submitted as PDF files.

QUESTIONS: Please direct questions to Xia Zhu-Barker ( or William R. Horwath ( via email

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available

UC Davis is a smoke & tobacco-free campus (

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the recruiting department.

2019 Forbes Award: Best Employers for Diversity 2019 Forbes Award: America

Job location

Davis, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter - outlining your interest in the position as well as your experience relevant to this position (please include a diversity statement

Reference requirements
  • 2-5 required (contact information only)