The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the United States Department of Agricultures chief scientific research agency and one of the worlds premiere scientific organizations. ARS Postdoctoral Research Associates are hired to supplement a lead scientist's research on agricultural problems of high national priority affecting American agriculture.
Learn more about this agency
The incumbent will be part of a team investigating how the biological, physical and chemical environment of the wine grape production system leads to specific chemical and sensory traits in wine. The incumbent will build on existing research on the mechanisms that drive microbial composition and function of wine systems. The incumbent will examine how climate, soil characteristics and management practices affect soil microbiomes; determine if soil microbiomes are a source of grape and wine microbiomes; and develop quantitative models to examine linkages among vineyard site metrics, berry metrics, and chemical and sensorial wine characteristics. The work will occur in partnership with a major California winery, which has provided access to wine grapes of the same genotype across vineyards situated along longitudinal transect between southern California and Oregon. Two years of data pertaining to the incumbents objectives have been collected from these vineyards, including: land use history, soil and grape must microbiomes, climate and edaphic characteristics, FTIR spectra of soil organic matter; chemical analysis of grape must, fermentations and wine; and sensory analysis of the wine. The incumbent will have the opportunity to design innovative experiments related to the following topics: 1) determining the roles of soil physical and chemical attributes, microbiome composition and activity, and soil nutrient transformations and availability in supporting vine health and berry ripening; 2) identifying the functional relationship among soil microbiomes, soil organic matter composition and quantity, and management practices in these vineyards that effectively shape soil microbiomes; and/or 3) developing predictive models among rootstock genotype, soil systems and vineyard management (e.g. irrigation with degraded water sources, cover crops, compost).
Occasional travel - Travel for trainings and research.