Coastal Wetland Carbon Data and Model Postdoc

Postdoctoral Associate in Coastal Wetland Carbon Data and Models at SERC
Salary: $60,129
Projected Start Date: January 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 Post-Doctoral Research Associate to help advance ecosystem science and prediction at the coastal terrestrial-aquatic interface. The Associates will join a multi-institution team funded by DOE to apply the ModEx (Model-Experiment Integration) concept to upland and wetland coastal ecosystems. The associate will focus on data synthesis, process modeling, and geospatial upscaling to better constrain soil carbon burial rates and methane emission at present and into the future. The Associate will be based at SERC and collaborate with members of the COMPASS (Coastal Observations, Mechanisms, and Predictions Across Systems and Scales) project led by Pacific Northwest National Lab.
Background: Coastal wetlands are important to carbon sequestration and methane emissions but there is uncertainty as to their contribution to carbon cycling at the terrestrial aquatic interface. The focus of this position is to advance the fusion of data and models, and to upscale their application using GIS and time series analysis to better constrain in-situ coastal wetland carbon removal, transformation, and greenhouse gas emissions, at multiple temporal and spatial scales. The candidate will work with and add to open source datasets and process model built by the Coastal Carbon Network’s working groups (, and if relevant will have opportunities to contribute use own expertise, focus, and developed products to shape the research approaches. The candidate will also take a substantial leadership role in liaising between the SERC lab and the rest of the COMPASS team, as well as integrating resulting data streams and model products as a module within a broader terrestrial aquatic interface model spanning adjacent forests, wetlands, and tidal waters.
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 quantitative skills
  • Demonstrated examples of building collaboration and taking initiative in research projects
  • R, Python, or other open source coding skills
An exemplary candidate will have at least one of the following:
  • Experience building and/or using large plant trait, soil, or greenhouse gas flux datasets to answer ecological questions
  • Experience with Bayesian hierarchical modeling
  • Experience with implementing time series and/or spatial models
  • Research experience with biogeochemistry, global change ecology, sea level or lake level dynamics, wetlands, and/or coastal forests
COMPASS: The Coastal Observations, Mechanisms, and Predictions Across Systems and Scales (COMPASS) project is a multi-institutional endeavor focused on understanding and predicting the transformations and fluxes of carbon and nutrients as they are exchanged across terrestrial-aquatic interfaces. COMPASS is led by Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) in collaboration with SERC and many other institutional partners. The goal is to advance a field- and lab- based understanding in close integration with modeling needs and advances. Research spans both seawater-influenced (Chesapeake Bay) and freshwater-influenced (western Lake Erie) coasts. The project’s research emphasis is primarily on terrestrial processes that are influenced by coastal waters. This project includes several national labs, and research institutions in both regions, affording the successful candidate the opportunity for exciting and diverse collaborations. COMPASS will hire several post-docs with complementary skills in coastal science, biogeochemistry, data sciences, and land surface modeling at all scales. The successful applicants will be based at SERC.
How to Apply: Please send a cover letter briefly outlining how you meet any of the required or optional criteria, a CV, a work sample (journal article, dissertation chapter, preprint publication, etc.), and the contact information of three references by September 13, 2021. Please email your application materials or any questions regarding the position to James Holmquist ( and include your last name and Coastal Wetland Carbon Postdoc in the subject line.
About SERC: 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 postdoctoral scientist will be hired as a ‘Trust Employee’ through Smithsonian’s non-profit wing, entitling them to health, vision, dental, and other benefits.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement: Both SERC and the COMPASS-FME project are strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Women, people of color, Indigenous people, and other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.