Hiring a data science technician for coral reef research!

Data Science Technician

The Pinsky Lab in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources is searching for an organized, enthusiastic, and skilled individual to work as a data science technician on a three-year project modeling the future of coral reefs and the potential for evolutionary rescue. The project is in collaboration with the Coral Reef Alliance, Dr. Daniel Schindler at the University of Washington, and other collaborators. The project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The technician will assist the PI, a postdoc, and our collaborators by identifying, assembling, and synthesizing existing, region-specific data on coral reefs and their oceanography, ecological communities, population dynamics, evolutionary parameters, and climate in the Pacific and Caribbean. These data will contribute to regional and/or global models of coral adaptation and the potential for conservation over the coming centuries across realistically complex landscapes. Important questions to be studied include the relative role of ecological vs. evolutionary change in rapid coral adaptation, the interaction between oceanography and evolutionary processes, and the potential for conservation actions to facilitate rapid adaptation. Other duties will include assisting with data visualizations as well as project and lab logistics such as training students, preparing materials for grant reports and applications, maintaining a website, and organizing events.

The technician will be part of a dynamic research team with opportunities for professional development, presentations, co-authorship on scientific manuscripts, and collaboration with colleagues at Rutgers, U. Washington, the Coral Reef Alliance, and beyond. Rutgers offers many opportunities to interact with biologists, oceanographers, climate scientists, and other scholars in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, the Rutgers Climate Institute, the Institute for Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the many other institutions in the New York region.

Minimum Qualifications
– A bachelor’s degree in ecology & evolution, marine biology, oceanography, climate, or a related scientific field, or an equivalent combination of education and relevant experience
– Exceptional organizational and data management skills
– Strong ability to accomplish tasks independently
– Excellent communication skills with professional colleagues
– Demonstrable skill with a scientific computing language (e.g., R, MATLAB, or Python) and with data science applications

Preferred Qualifications
– Experience with data management, including spatial data
– Knowledge of coral reef biology, ecology, or oceanography
– Experience with computer clusters and scientific computing
– Start date in summer 2017
– Experience on the Meso-American Reef or in Fiji or Indonesia

To apply, please please send a cover letter that describes your interest in the position, a curriculum vitae, and the contact information for three references to Malin Pinsky (malin.pinsky@rutgers.edu). Please combine all components of the application into a single file, and include “CORAL tech position” in the subject line. Review of applications will begin on April 14, 2017 and continue until the position is filled.

This is a full-time position, initially appointed for a period of 12 months at an annual salary of $30,860-$35,000 (depending on qualifications), plus health insurance, retirement contributions, and other benefits. The position can be extended for at least one year depending on performance.

More information about the Pinsky lab can be found at http://pinsky.marine.rutgers.edu. Please contact Malin Pinsky (malin.pinsky@rutgers.edu) if you have any questions.

New paper: Who should pick the winners of climate change?

It is tempting to try to guess which species will be the winners of climate change, and which the losers. But our new paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution suggests that we should avoid doing that when we design management and conservation measures. Instead, we propose harnessing the diversity and evolutionary capacity of the natural world as a climate adaptation strategy by designing “adaptation networks.” We focus on coral reefs as a particularly salient example.

Patrick defends!

Patrick Flanagan very successfully presented and defended his MS Thesis today, “Community-temperature mismatch in a benthic marine ecosystem.” He investigated whether changing temperature could be used to understand ecological community change on the northeast US continental shelf. Congratulations, Patrick! He’s graduating from the Graduate Program in Oceanography.

New paper! Marine species respond rapidly to winter temperatures

Bluefish illustration courtesy of fishwatch.gov
Bluefish illustration courtesy of fishwatch.gov

Jim Morley has a new paper just online early in Global Change Biology (here). Studying marine fish and invertebrates of the coast of the southeast US, he found that winter temperatures quickly and predictably affect species’ distribution and abundance in the following year. In particular, we found a greater abundance of southern, warm-water species following mild winters. We also found that these impacts cascade up to affect fisheries catches for many species. Interestingly, these responses appear in a region that has not been warming over the last couple decades, though 1-3 °C of warming is expected by the end of this century. Warmer winters likely will result in increased abundance of species with more southern affinities, such as white and pink shrimp, southern hake, and star drum.

Becca gives departmental seminar at Bowdoin College

beccaselden-768x512
Photo from Bowdoin College

Becca was invited to present her PhD and post-doctoral research in the departmental seminar series at Bowdoin College, her alma mater. She presented a talk entitled “Climate, fishing, and marine food webs: predator-prey interactions in a changing ocean.” Her research and career to date were featured on the Bowdoin website! See http://community.bowdoin.edu/news/2016/10/becca-selden-06-looks-into-the-sea-to-study-climate-change/

Welcoming Wijnand Boonstra, Katrina Catalano, Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn, and Emily Moberg!

The lab is busy these days, and we’re excited to welcome a visitor, a new Ph.D. student, and two new postdocs!

  • Wijnand Boonstra is a sociologist from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, visiting to work on fisheries dynamics related to our NSF Coastal SEES project and GreenMar.
  • Katrina Catalano just finished her B.S. at Boston University and a field season in Belize. She’s interested in larval dispersal and reef fish metapopulation dynamics.
  • Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn is joining us from a Ph.D. at Northeastern University and will be working on population genomics and white-nose syndrome in bats with Brooke Maslo on our USFWS-funded project.
  • Emily Moberg is joining our Coastal SEES project to work on bioeconomic models of fishery responses to climate change in collaboration with Eli Fenichel and Simon Levin. She just finished a Ph.D. in the MIT/WHOI program.

See our updated People page!

Multiple PhD and postdoctoral positions in climate change ecology and evolution

Multiple PhD and postdoctoral positions in climate change ecology and evolution

Three postdoctoral positions and one PhD position are available in the Pinsky Lab at Rutgers University to work on climate change ecology and evolution in marine ecosystems. The positions represent an exciting expansion of research efforts in this area. Broadly, research in the Pinsky Lab uses empirical data, mathematical models, and population genomics to study global change in the coastal ocean.

Key themes across all new positions include understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that determine how climate variability and climate change filter through ocean communities to affect human behavior and the success or failure of conservation efforts. Postdocs and students will join an international network of collaborators across conservation, marine science, climate science, economics, sociology, and policy, including Josh Abbott (Arizona State U.), Daniel Schindler and Andre Punt (U. Washington), Dan Holland and Melissa Poe (NOAA), William Cheung and Daniel Pauly (U. British Columbia), Jorge Sarmiento (Princeton), Carl Folke (Stockholm U.), and Pat Halpin (Duke).

Three (3) postdoc positions are open:

1) Coupled Natural Human (CNH) systems postdoc: The postdoc will take the lead on a research project investigating the causes and consequences of ecological synchrony in the California Current large marine ecosystem. Key questions include how portfolio effects emerge in open systems and how oceanographic processes and fishing interact to affect population dynamics. The postdoc will also be part of a broader NSF-funded team studying coupled social-ecological dynamics and feedbacks from physics to fish to people.

2) Nereus Fellow: As part of the Nereus Program (http://www.nereusprogram.org), the Fellow will design and lead empirical research to understand the consequences of climate change and shifting species distributions for human behavior and adaptation in marine ecosystems. Resources for the research include large datasets of fishing vessel behavior over decadal time-scales, as well as other datasets on environmental changes and ecological states.

3) Eco-evolutionary dynamics postdoc: The postdoc will develop models and theory to understand the extent to which ecological turnover and evolutionary rescue could preserve coral reef function over the coming centuries, and whether conservation efforts can facilititate the adaptation process at the landscape scale. Application of the theory to case studies in three geographies will also be part of the research.

All postdoc positions are two years.

One (1) graduate assistant position is open, preferably for a Ph.D. degree:

1) CNH Graduate Assistant: The GA will use statistical and process-based models to understand the mechanisms linking climate variability to marine animal population dynamics in the California Current large marine ecosystem, including recruitment and distribution. The GA will also be part of a broader NSF-funded team studying coupled social-ecological dynamics and feedbacks from physics to fish to people.

Across all positions, the ideal candidates will be skilled with data analysis, statistics, and ecological modeling (or a strong aptitude for learning these skills, in the case of the GA). 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. For postdoctoral applications, a promising record of publication is highly valued. The successful applicants will be independent, motivated problem solvers who communicate well and enjoy working in a collaborative setting.

The positions will be based at Rutgers with extensive opportunities for research visits across campuses, including U. Washington, U. British Columbia, and NOAA offices. Additional opportunities are available to interact with scientists at  the Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab; the Princeton Environmental Institute; the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science; and beyond.

**Application process**

The postdoc start dates are flexible and the positions are open until filled. The GA will begin in summer or fall 2017. Review of postdoc applications will begin on October 1, 2016 and will continue on a rolling basis. Review of GA applications will continue until December 2016, when applications to Rutgers graduate programs are due.

Interested postdoc candidates should submit: 1) a one­-page cover letter that describes which position(s) they are applying for (and preferred position if applying to more than one) and their preferred start date, 2) a two­-page research statement describing their relevant background and anticipated research approach to the problem they would be addressing, 3) a CV, and 4) the names and contact information of three other scientists familiar with their work.

GA applicants should include a 1-2 page cover letter describing their interests, CV, a recent transcript, GRE scores, and contact information for three references. Qualified GA candidates will be contacted and encouraged to apply to the graduate program in either Ecology & Evolution (http://ecoevo.rutgers.edu/) or Oceanography (http://marine.rutgers.edu/main/IMCS-Academics/Graduate-Program-in-Oceanography.html), depending on student interests. Ph.D. applications to Rutgers are due in December.

Please submit all materials to malin.pinsky@rutgers.edu with “Postdoc application 2016” or “Graduate application 2016” as the subject.

Malin Pinsky
Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
USA