Vacant Research Positions [last updated: 3/2015]

Pedometrics, Digital Soil Mapping, Landscape Analysis, Integral Analysis - Soil Security, Geospatial Analsysis/GIS

Graduate studies research topics (Ph.D. and M.S. students)

(1) Ph.D. Fellowship

Seek interested student who likes to submit an application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) to pursue a Ph.D. in Dr. Grunwald's laboratory and reseach group. The candidate must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. to qualify for this fellowship. Send an email to sabgru @ to develop a joint competitive research proposal.

Program: NSF 14-590:



(2) Integral Assessment of Risk, Vulnerability, and Adaptability of Eco-Human Interactions in a Rapidly Changing World

In the Anthropocene, processes and response feedbacks to soil-ecosystems have accelerated, jeopardizing their sustainability at local, regional, and global scales. Global change, such as population growth, climate change, human-induced disturbances, and drastically altered land use, imposes profound imprints onto soil-ecosystems impacting soil and food security and human well being. An integral pluralistic perspective to address these profound environmental problems considers a multiplicity of methodologies, fuses data and knowledge from different domains/disciplines, and draws on a variety of perspectives (e.g., science, technology, socio-economic, political) embedded in cultural values, ethics, and beliefs about human-environment interactions. The resilience, adaptability, and mitigation to change depend on our understanding of the complexity of interacting pedo-, topo-, bio-, hydro-, human-, and noo-spheres.

Research questions:

  • What are the minimum, optimal, attainable, and potential soil qualities to sustain specific benefits (e.g., food security, carbon sequestration, human well-being)
  • How can we assess the risk, vulnerabilty, and adaptability of a soil-ecosystem that is undergoing rapid change?
  • What kind of integration approaches are available to support knowledge formation to better understand eco-human interactions and their impact on soil natural capital?
  • Are there scale dependencies of dominant processes that drive the eco-human system interactions?
  • How do specific beliefs (e.g., the beliefs that "soil resources are limited and precious for humansl", "soils are less worth than water", "who cares about soils because they are only dirt", "economic growth is more important than soils", etc.) and valuation of soils impact how we use them?

Approach: Select two contrasting regions to be studied (e.g., regon in the southeastern U.S. and one in a developing country), meta-analysis, synthesis, fusion of data and methods into more complex models, scenarios, and narratives.

Your interests/skills: Complex thinking and reasoning; wide interest to work across disciplines such as ecosystem services, environmental science, integral ecology, geoscience, politics, social science, philosophy, psychology (inter- and trans-disciplinary research); and joy in applying quantitative methods.


(3) Geospatial Carbon Evolution Modeling at Continental Scale

This research project is focused on modeling of soil/terrestrial carbon across North America and understanding of carbon variation along climatic, topographic, pedogenic, and ecological trajectories. Specific attention will be focused on analyzing the effects of land use/biomeand global climate change and disturbances (such as fire) on soil/terrestrial carbon evolution.

Approach: Multi-temporal remote sensing analysis, data mining, statistical, geostatistical, and mixed methods; simulation modeling, and GIS

Your interests/skills: Carbon modeling, digital soil mapping, pedometrics, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, and soil science/environmental sciences.


(4) Frontier of Digital Soil Mapping (DSM)

The digital soil mapping community has been focused over the past decades to make "better" soil maps that are more accurate, precise, and provide finer and finer spatial resolutions. The progress of ever more sophisticated digital soil models emerging has been striking. But the effects of making soil models more and more complex by fusion of multi-scale soil-environmental data from a variety of sources (field observations, proximal soil sensing, remote sensing, and other environmental covariates) and multiple methods (e.g., pedo-transfer functions, correlations, interpolations, resampling of pixels to a common grain size, data mining, etc.) are still poorly understood. The uncertainty of soil predictions is dependent on a multi-factorial set (such as soil data quality, choice of model structure(s) to assess soil-environmental relationships), geographic domain, and spatial scale. This project will investigate the digital soil model quality and uncertainty of different DSM approaches in a region in Florida, U.S. Soils in Florida are sand-rich, consists of many hydric soils, and range from carbon-rich to carbon-poor areas.

Approach: Various DSM methods

Your interests/skills: Soil science, digital soil mapping, pedometrics, GIS.


How to apply for M.S. and Ph.D. graduate studies focused on the above topics?

If you are interested in the research topics above please submit a complete application to seek entrance into one of the following graduate programs:
(i) Graduate programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) in 'Soil and Water Science' or 'Environmental Science' - Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida. Information about the graduate program can be found at: Application guidelines at: In your application letter indicate your interest in Dr. Grunwald's research program: Pedometrics, Digital Soil Mapping, Landscape Analaysis, and GIS.

(ii) Graduate programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Interdisciplinary Ecology offered by the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), University of Florida: Information how to seek entrance into the graduate program in Interdisciplinary Ecology can be found at: In your application letter indicate your interest in Dr. Grunwald's research program: Pedometrics, Digital Soil Mapping, Landscape Analaysis, and GIS.

After a complete application has been submitted (including application form and letter, GRE scores, [Toefl scores for international students], recommendation letters, etc.) qualified candidates will be invited for an interview. Graduate assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Applications for fellowships/scholarships are welcome. To state your interest in Dr. Grunwald's reserach program please send her your curriculum vitae and a description outlining your specific research objectives.


Post-Doctoral Researcher

None at the moment.