Postdoctoral Research Associate

  • University of Florida
  • United States
  • Sep 14, 2023

Job Description:

Classification Title:

Postdoc Aso

Job Description:

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is creating an environment that affirms community across all dimensions. We particularly welcome applicants who can contribute to such an environment through their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and professional service. If an accommodation due to a disability is needed to apply for this position, please call 352-392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or visit Accessibility at UF .

The postdoctoral research associate will work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in partnership with UF/IFAS faculty at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC). This 2-year paid postdoctoral research associate fellowship will focus on optimizing production of forage as food and enrichment for animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a focus on increasing plant variety, quantity, and long-term sustainability of a 30-acre browse farm. Responsibilities include installation and maintenance of diverse plant taxa to include grasses, shrubs, and tree species. Short-term objectives will be to identify, establish, and successfully cultivate browse material in support of animal health and nutrition. Long-term objectives will be to assist in the development of a 5- to 10-yr browse material cultivation plan. The candidate will be responsible for the collection, management, and analysis of data to support programmatic impacts and to communicate them to fellow scientists and program administrators. The candidate will work closely day-to-day with animal nutritionists, horticultural scientists, and landscape management staff, thus strong and effective communication skills are required. This role will support Disney’s Animal Kingdom programs and lead the way for the zoological community in the southeastern US through the development of best practices for producing feed for herbivores. Publications and scientific presentations are supported and expected. The Fellow will work with professionals across disciplines, including horticulture, animal health, nutrition, science, and husbandry. In addition, the Fellow will work with Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment staff to develop guest experiences that educate guests about animal nutrition, feeding, and enrichment.

Other Information

Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Kissimmee, FL is a 580-acre park home to over 3,000 animals of over 200 species. The mission of the Disney's Animals, Science and Environment team is to lead Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to care for animals and the environment, connect people to nature and conserve our natural resources. The Fellow will be housed within the Animal Nutrition Center, which oversees the nutrition of the animals and operates a 30-acre browse farm that provides a year-round supply of forage to the animals.

MREC, located in Apopka, Florida, is 15 miles northwest of the Orlando metropolitan area, 25 miles north of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and 95 miles from the main UF campus at Gainesville. MREC personnel include 9 faculty and more than 50 supporting staff, including part-time and grant-funded personnel and students. Currently, the interdisciplinary MREC faculty has members specializing in agricultural economics, entomology, landscape ornamentals and indoor foliage plants, landscape ecology, molecular biology, plant breeding, plant pathology, and edible and medicinal plant production. More information on the MREC, UF/IFAS, and the region can be found at

Expected Salary:

Commensurate with Education and Experience

Minimum Requirements:

An earned Ph.D. (foreign equivalent acceptable) in horticulture, plant science, agronomy, or a field related to agriculture is required. The successful candidate must possess a strong interest in zoo horticulture, browse production (fresh plant material cultivated for herbivore feed), and the integration of horticultural and agricultural techniques with the unique needs of a diverse animal collection. Knowledge of effective plant water and nutrient management practices in support of plant development and health is required. In addition, experience and knowledge of proper plant pruning techniques are mandatory.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience with edible specialty crops, human health, and/or animal health and nutrition is preferred. Experience working with a diverse team of specialists to plan, manage, and achieve programmatic goals is desired.

Special Instructions to Applicants:

Application must be submitted by 11:55 p.m. (ET) of the posting end date.

  • Individuals wishing to apply should go online to Careers at UF and submit:
    • Cover letter that states applicant’s interest in the position and qualifications relative to the credentials listed above
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Unofficial transcripts

Inquiries should be sent to:

Please refer to Requisition # 527993

Brian Pearson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

University of Florida

Mid-Florida Research and Education Center

Department of Environmental Horticulture

University of Florida


Telephone: 407-410-6930

Selected candidate will be required to provide an official transcript to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” is visible. Degrees earned from an education institution outside of the United States are required to be evaluated by a professional credentialing service provider approved by National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the US. The University of Florida is a public institution and subject to all requirements under Florida Sunshine and Public Record laws.

The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The University and greater Gainesville community enjoy a diversity of cultural events, restaurants, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and social opportunities.

Health Assessment Required: No