Defenders of Wildlife Climate Change and Wildlife Science Fellow


Climate Change and Wildlife Science Fellow

Location: Washington, D.C.

Supervisor: Vice President, Climate Change and Natural Resources Adaptation

Position Description

Defenders of Wildlife is committed to understanding how climate change threatens native species and their habitats, then acting to reduce these vulnerabilities through adaptive, practical responses. The Climate Change and Wildlife Science Fellowship offers a post-doctoral opportunity for professional development and publication opportunities in the emerging field of climate change adaptation policy and natural resources management.

The Climate Change and Wildlife Science Fellow will assist the organization in understanding the impacts of climate change on wildlife and its habitat, developing adaptation strategies, guidance or tools to mitigate the impacts over the next century, and communicating these impacts and strategies to policymakers, media, government agencies and the public.  The Fellow is encouraged to engage in entrepreneurial synthetic research and creative outreach in support of adaptive policy and management solutions to climate change. The Fellow will shape an innovative vision for addressing climate change impacts and responses in the context of other major threats to biodiversity (e.g., habitat destruction, invasive species, and human development patterns).  He/she will link technical scientific findings to conservation action and will offer technical assistance and play a leading role in "mainstreaming" climate adaptation into Defenders’ conservation programs and into government agency programs.  

Located in Washington, D.C., the Climate Change and Wildlife Science Fellow will have the opportunity to learn the intricacies of federal policymaking and interact with decision makers in Congress, federal and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations.  The two-year fellowship provides an annual stipend of $50,000, competitive benefits, and a travel and operational budget.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct and/or apply synthetic research that is relevant to adaptation of natural systems to climate change.
  • Conduct and/or apply research into sociological and institutional barriers to adopting adaptation approaches for biodiversity conservation.
  • Assist in the development of legislative and administrative policy.
  • Communicate awareness of climate change impacts and adaptation, and disseminate new, emerging findings to Defenders’ staff as well as to key decision makers, the media, Defenders’ membership, and the general public
  • Represent Defenders in public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, and elsewhere

    Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education: Ph.D. in conservation biology, ecology, climate change, conservation planning, social ecology, or a related discipline in the natural resources disciplines.
  • Experience: Diverse experience with climate change science, preferably involving connections to important themes in climate change, conservation biology and conservation policy.
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.
  • Other:
    • Demonstrated ability to work independently to initiate, implement, apply, and/or publish scientific research and to communicate such research to both professional and lay audiences.
    • Familiarity with some of the major climate research organizations, such as the U.S. Global Change Research Program and/or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain scientifically productive interdisciplinary collaborations.
    • Strong research, writing, organizational, and verbal communications skills.
    • Strong desire to publish policy-relevant reports and peer-reviewed papers and able to balance writing workload with other coalition, collaboration and communication work described herein.
  • Comments: This position requires occasional domestic travel.

How To Apply

Interested applicants please reference Climate Change and Wildlife Science Fellow in your subject line and submit a letter of interest, along with your resume and salary history (must be included to be considered) to us via e-mail at:

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.