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Assistant Specialist - Tree Physiology

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The UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences is seeking a highly motivated Assistant Specialist for a full time position to work with a team focusing on assessing productivity in nut tree crops as related to tree physiology and canopy structure. This will include analyzing data from a mobile platform lightbar that measures canopy light interception in orchard systems. The individual will also provide technical expertise focusing on image analysis for calculating canopy cover estimates from ground shadows in orchards, analyzing impacts of plant water status and pruning on shoot growth characteristics to aid in modeling of tree growth characteristics in nut crops. It will also include digitizing of tree structure in the field for a cooperative project on mechanical harvesting for peach and pear. This position will require travel to field sites throughout California. The successful candidate will be actively involved in publishable research activities.
I. Research in specialized areas (90%)
Analysis of data from mobile platform light bar (30%)
Perform data analysis, summarize data and prepare data for reports. This includes working with a large number of collaborators on research projects. The data sets involved are very large and this work involves familiarity with Microsoft Excel, preferably including experience in writing macros to ease repetitive tasks.

Image analysis (20%)

This position is responsible for carrying out analysis of data from proximally sensed images of orchard floor shadows in almond, pistachio and walnut to calculate canopy cover and assist in analyzing yield potential under different production practices and systems. Familiarity with digital image processing software such as Image J and/or GIMP is helpful but on the job training can be provided. This position will take the lead in working with programmers in engineering departments to refining image analysis techniques for processing ground floor shadow images.

Robotic harvest project (15%)
This individual will also coordinate with collaborators in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering on a robotic harvest project on pears and peaches. This will include digitizing tree structure in the field and analyzing the data collected. This will require several weeks in the field collecting data during the harvest period in August through September.
Assisting in collecting and analyzing field data on water potential and shoot growth (25%)
The individual in this position is also expected to assist in collecting and analyzing tree growth and plant water potential data in the field in connection with almond, pistachio and walnut field projects. The goal of this aspect of the work is to integrate the tree growth characteristics in the field with the image analysis data collected.
II. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)
Contribute to writing reports and presenting results to visitors and at outreach meetings, via the web, posters, etc. Participate actively in appropriate professional/technical societies or groups and other educational and research organizations. Prepare information for presentations and extension meetings and attend seminars and meetings relevant to the research projects (i.e. Almond Board of California Conference, Statewide Pistachio Day, etc.).
III. University and Public Service (5%)
The Junior Specialist will be required to provide training in image analysis techniques for collaborators including researchers from other research groups as well as farm advisors. The Assistant Specialist will also be expected to take part in committees within the department, college, campus and other university entities as appropriate.
Familiarity with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, SAS, and Sigmaplot.
QUALIFICATIONS: Master’s degree in Plant Sciences or Pomology or a closely related field desirable. Demonstrated ability to organize and process data. Applicants must be able to show attention to detail, be willing to maintain a flexible schedule and be able to lift 40lbs. Must have a valid California Driver’s license and be able to take field trips that require overnight stays. Must be able to communicate proficiently in both written and spoken English.
SALARY: $48,204/yr
TERM OF APPOINTMENT: The position is initially available for 6 months with potential for extension based on performance and availability of funds.

Job location

Davis, CA


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

  • Cover Letter

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)