Tidal Wetland Ecosystem Process Modeler Postdoctoral Fellow

Jan 26, 2017

Post-doctoral Fellow Job Announcement (reposted)

Tidal Wetland Ecosystem Process Modeler - Coastal Wetland Carbon Sequestration in a Warmer Climate

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join our interdisciplinary team on an exciting new manipulative experiment that examines the interactions of warming, elevated CO2, and inundation frequency in coastal wetland marsh ecosystems. The position focuses on the development, application, and analysis of new computational models that couple energy, water, carbon, and nutrient dynamics in tidal wetland systems. This successful candidate will collaborate with an active modeling team and be expected to interact closely with other research groups working on field experiments and observations. 

The project focuses on a unique manipulative experiment located at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, MD. The manipulative experiment is already underway, and both pre- and post-treatment results are now available for use by the modeling team. A broad array of measurements is being gathered routinely, including marsh elevation, water levels, meteorological conditions, vegetation community distribution and productivity, plant traits, soil biogeochemistry, and CO2 and CH4 fluxes. Thanks to a long history of research at the site, a wealth of observational and experimental data is available to inform model construction and to evaluate model performance. The primary objective of the study is to test the hypothesis that warming will increase both plant production and decomposition, but that the net effect will be an increase in soil carbon storage.

The candidate will work directly with the land model component of the new Department of Energy Earth System Model. The full model is known as ACME (Accelerated Climate Model for Energy), and the land component used as a starting point for this activity is the ACME Land Model (ALM) version 1.0. That model includes sophisticated carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus biogeochemistry and plant physiology, but has never been enabled for simulation in a tidal wetland system. New development led by the candidate will include introduction of redox and pH controls on soil biogeochemistry (some early work is available as a starting point), external forcing for water height to mimic tidal variation, and parameterization of high marsh and low marsh physical environment and vegetation community.

The new position will have excellent opportunity for creative freedom to explore alternative approaches and to design the most effective interactions with observational and experimental project elements.

A strong background in computational modeling is a requirement, with experience in land, wetland, or tidal system modeling desirable. A demonstrated record of scientific productivity that includes strong written and oral communication skills are also required for this position. Experience collaborating with observationalists and experimentalists is highly desirable. The ALM v1.0 model uses Fortran90, and so Fortran experience is desirable, but not necessary.

This is a two-year position funded by SERC, but the successful candidate will work at the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, located in the lush temperate forest biome near Knoxville, in eastern Tennessee. Abundant local recreational opportunities include hiking, biking, camping, and wildlife observation, in the Tennessee River valley, in the Smoky Mountains to the east, and on the Cumberland Plateau to west. Numerous rivers and lakes provide abundant opportunity for all sorts of boating and fishing. Regular visits to interact with project members and measurement activities at the experimental site in Maryland will be expected, with all travel expenses covered by the project.

To apply, please e-mail a short letter of interest that describes your experience and qualifications (1-2 pages), CV, and list of references to Dr. Pat Megonigal (megonigalp@si.edu). Review of applications and interviews will begin immediately upon receipt and the search will continue until a suitable applicant is found. The candidate is expected to start by 1 September 2017. Questions about this position can be directed to Peter Thornton (thorntonpe@ornl.gov) or Pat Megonigal.