Postdoc in process-based forecasting of species distributions

A three-year postdoctoral position is available in the Pinsky Lab at Rutgers University to develop process-based models of species distributions and applications to near-term forecasting (1-10 years). The position is ideally suited to researchers with an interest in spatial population dynamics, biogeography, climate, and process-based modeling. The research will focus on marine species for which we have a half-century of distribution and abundance records.

The postdoc will join a network of collaborators across marine science, climate science, and conservation, including partners in the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. Extensive opportunities are available to interact with scientists at Rutgers’ Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab; the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science; and beyond. The postdoc will have the opportunity to mentor graduate and undergraduate students, design and lead research, manage and analyze large datasets, prepare conference presentations and manuscripts, and coordinate a research collaboration. Research in the Pinsky Lab more broadly uses empirical data, mathematical models, and population genomics to study global change in the ocean.
The ideal candidate will be skilled with spatial- and size-structured population models, statistics, and data analysis. Experience with Approximate Bayesian Computation and climate data is a plus. Applicants with evidence of creativity, productivity, strong oral and written communication abilities, and enthusiasm are especially encouraged to apply, particularly those that bring a new perspective, new ideas, or a new skillset to the team. A promising record of publication is highly valued, as is an interest in engaging closely with partners in conservation and management. The successful applicant will be an independent, motivated problem solver who communicates well and enjoys working in a collaborative setting.

**Position details**The postdoc start dates are flexible, though earlier dates are preferred. Salary starts at $54,000 per year and includes health insurance, retirement, tax savings plans, and other benefits. Funding for conferences and a computer are available.  This is a one-year appointment with the expectation that it will be renewed for two more one-year increments (three years total), contingent upon satisfactory performance.

**Application process**Review of applications will begin on March 24, 2019 and will continue on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should submit: 1) a one­-page cover letter that describes their interest in the position, their relevant background, and their preferred start date, 2) a CV, and 3) the names and contact information of three scientists familiar with their work.

Welcome to Jude Kong!

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Jude Kong to the lab! Jude brings a wealth of experience in mathematical modeling and applied math, including for diseases and aquatic ecosystems. He has his PhD from U. Alberta and will be working on process-based models for shifting species distributions. Welcome, Jude!

Reuters in-depth reporting highlights our work

Reuters released the results of a more than year-long investigation into climate change, fish, and fisheries called Ocean Shock that we supported throughout. The data in their visualizations are from OceanAdapt and their summer flounder story builds from our NSF-funded Coastal SEES research with Kevin St. Martin, Bonnie McCay, Eli Fenichel, and Simon Levin. We’re all excited to see Mo Tamman and the rest of the team’s wonderful storytelling and science communication skills brought to bear on this important issue!

Communities respond within a year to temperature variation

Map of survey area with sub-regions colored by magnitude of long-term change in CTI in spring.

Patrick’s paper from his MS is now online early at Ecography! He studied temporal change in community composition across the Northeast US continental shelf and found that changes through time could be explained by species associations with bottom temperature. Measured as the Community Temperature Index (CTI), composition changed by about one third of a degree (°C) for every 1 °C increase in bottom temperature on average. Species have non-linear responses to changes in temperature, however, and these nonlinearities scaled up to a nonlinear relationship between composition and temperature.

Science Policy Forum: climate change may spark global fish conflict

Our paper in Science out today, “Preparing ocean governance for species on the move” is available here or in Spanish here.

News coverage:

Ocean currents shape the geography of life in the Coral Triangle

Coral dispersal in an oceanographic model for the western tropical Pacific

In a new paper published online today in Progress in Oceanography, Diane Thompson and collaborators (including Malin) show how ocean currents transport coral larvae throughout the western Tropical Pacific, and how the barriers posed by these currents have helped shape where species are found.

Link for free access until July 27, 2018 is here.

Thompson, D., J. Kleypas, F. Castruccio, E. Curchitser, M. L. Pinsky, B. Jönsson, and J. Watson (2018). Variability in oceanographic barriers to coral larval dispersal: do currents shape biodiversity? Progress in Oceanography 165: 110-122 doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2018.05.007

Warming Waters Push Fish To Cooler Climes, Out Of Some Fishermen’s Reach: Paper in PLOS ONE by Jim, Becca, and Malin!

Jim, Becca, and Malin’s paper, Projecting shifts in thermal habitat for 686 species on the North American continental shelf, was published in PLOS ONE last week (and featured in their Climate Change Channel). The paper details how species’ habitat will shift to cooler waters in the face of climate change.

Researchers projected the habitat shifts under a high-emissions scenario and a low-emissions scenario.

Press coverage included

Becca’s research on Science Friday

Becca Selden teamed up with DataSpire’s Kristin Hunter-Thomson to develop an educational resource with Science Friday’s educational director Ariel Zych. The resource teaches 7-12th grade high school students to interpret the impacts of warming oceans on marine ecosystems. Lab members Katrina Catalano, and Lisa McManus provided valuable scientific review of the resource prior to its publication.

Check it out at:

https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/interpreting-the-impacts-of-rising-ocean-temperatures-on-ecosystems/

The ocean is changing. As it changes, the ecosystem and the species within the ocean are impacted, sometimes in surprising ways. This is a story about how some of those changes—in temperature, where fish populations live, and the fishing communities that rely upon them—could play out along the Atlantic Coast in the next century. It’s also a story about making predictions and using evidence from data. Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. Read a story from the docks of New England: What’s changing?
  2. Meet a scientist and think like one: How do we collect data on the oceans?
  3. Think like a fish: Use data to model changes in fish populations.
  4. Make predictions: Use your model to make predictions and inform the community