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Research Opportunity Description

Plant Physiologist
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Ames, IA


Project Description:

The National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa is seeking a post-doctoral scholar to quantify the interactions of carbon dioxide, water, temperature, and nitrogen on plant growth and development and productivity. These interactions will be linked with crop model improvement as part of the AgMIP project and interface with the model improvement component of this project.  Research will be conducted in an experimental setting on corn and soybean and analysis of the scientific literature. 

Objectives for this effort are:

  1. Quantify the impact of the interactions of temperature and water on plant growth and development for the inclusion into crop models;
  2. Conduct environmental chamber and field experiments to evaluate temperature and water stress effects on corn hybrids and soybean cultivars to quantify the Genetic x Environment x Management interactions;
  3. Quantify the projected temperature and water availability impacts on crop growth and development for different soils and climates to determine avenues to climate resilience. These studies will require innovation in the development of experimental observations to quantify these interactions ranging from eddy correlation, leaf chamber measurements, growth chambers, and remote sensing observations of canopy growth and development.


To be eligible, applicants must have received a doctorate degree within five years of the desired starting date.  Training for this position should include plant physiology, microclimatology, agronomic, statistics, and crop simulation modeling. Experience in the conduct of greenhouse, growth chamber or field experiments to quantify soil-plant-atmosphere interactions including leaf and canopy scale instrumentation is preferred.

Preferred skills include:

  • the analysis of plant physiological response to water or temperature stress
  • conduct experiments to quantify plant response to environmental conditions
  • experience in the use of laboratory and field equipment to quantify plant stress
  • experience in the analysis of data from experiments on plant stress
  • ability to design experiments to quantify temperature and water stress effects on plant growth and physiology
  • preparation of research papers from research results

Additionally, individuals need to have a demonstrated ability to conduct experiments and initiative in designing original experiments on soil-plant-atmosphere interactions.

While participants will not enter into an employment relationship with ARS, this position requires a pre-employment check and a full background investigation.

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) and foreign nationals.

This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

Additional Information:

The appointment is full-time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of the ARS and availability of funding. The annual stipend rate for this position is $76,597. A stipend supplement in the amount of $13,615 is included in this rate to offset the cost of an individual or family health insurance plan. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. Health insurance may be obtained through ORISE. The rate also includes a travel allowance of $5,000 per year to reimburse travel-related expenses to scientific and professional development activities. The participant does not become an employee of the ARS or ORISE.

For additional information about the ARS Research Participation Program, please visit

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project #ARS-NLAE-2014-0027 in your application and when calling or writing for information.