Coastal CarbonGreenhouse Gas Inventory Postdoc

Postdoctoral Scholar for Country-Level Coastal Wetland Greenhouse Gas Inventorying

Salary: $60,129.10 plus benefits

Projected Start Date: February 2022

Appointment Term: 1 year minimum, with potential renewal for a total of 2 years

The Biogeochemistry lab at SERC (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) is searching for a Postdoctoral Researcher to lead a project organizing databases in support of coastal wetland greenhouse gas inventory development for multiple non-U.S. countries. This position is funded by the U.S. State Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and the researcher will join an enthusiastic team of partners from federal agencies, academic institutions, and non-profits to advance applications of blue carbon science.

Coastal wetlands are a disproportionate sink of carbon, and have potential to act as an enhanced sink of greenhouse gas emissions given management interventions. Because of this, the IPCC encourages coastal nations to participate in coastal wetland greenhouse gas inventorying. Greenhouse gas inventories rely on open-data and models which come both from governments and the academic research community. Both need a centralized set of standards for archiving data, and a hub for harmonizing and serving data. Since 2017 the SERC-hosted Coastal Carbon Research Coordination Network has built data syntheses, models of soil carbon dynamics, and models of methane emissions using publically available data and open source code. However, because the network was built off of efforts supporting the U.S. greenhouse gas inventory, we have not fully engaged data-providers and stakeholders for non-U.S. countries to systematically increase their representation in the database.

This team member will implement a program to increase the capacity of non-U.S. countries to inventory carbon storage and losses in their coastal ecosystems based on activities data (i.e. landcover changes) and emissions factors (changes in greenhouse gas emissions attributable to landcover changes). It will involve the following: (1) an analysis of existing coastal carbon data to determine priorities for a new non-U.S. focused synthesis; (2) identifying collaborators and contacts in at least 5 counties to develop country specific in depth improvements to public data synthesis; (3) building a tool for generating country specific emissions factors; and (4) building an online tool for incorporating global coastal and wetland maps, and using them to generate country specific activities data.

 A successful candidate will have at least:

  • A Ph.D. in geography, a physical, or natural science awarded by the time the position starts
  • Excellent R Coding Skills
  • Excellent Quantitative Skills
  • GIS Experience
  • Experience with managing large data synthesis

 An ideal candidate will have one or more of the following:

  • Have a demonstrated track record of building stakeholder-focused research products
  • R-Shiny development experience
  • Existing connections to coastal research outside of the U.S.
  • Experience speaking and writing a language other than English used in a coastal country: such as Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Tagalog, Arabic, Hindi, French, Bengali, or Vietnamese.

Please send a cover letter briefly outlining your how you meet any of the required or optional criteria, a CV, a work sample (i.e. journal article, dissertation chapter, preprint publication, etc.), and the contact information of three references to James Holmquist ( by December 20, 2021.

SERC is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of environmental change for marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. The main campus is a 2,650-acre research site on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater Maryland. Facilities include the Global Change Research Wetland, the site of the known longest-running ecological manipulation experiment. Nearby cities include historic Annapolis, Maryland's capital, and D.C. The technician will be hired as a ‘Trust Employee’ through Smithsonian’s non-profit wing. This will entitle them to health, vision, dental, and other benefits.

Women, people of color, Indigenous people, and other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.