Postdoctoral Scholar in Marine and Environmental Affairs

University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs

Postdoctoral Scholar - School of Marine & Environmental Affairs

Position Overview

Organization: Marine and Environmental Affairs

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar - School of Marine & Environmental Affairs

Position Details

Position Description

We are seeking a post-doctoral researcher to help develop a statistical model to improve our understanding of the distribution of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and coho salmon (O. kisutch) in the ocean, integrating traditional coded wire tags (CWT) with more recent genetic data (genetic stock identification, GSI). Both species of salmon are important for fisheries off the west coast of North America, ranging from California to Alaska. Many of the populations targeted by fisheries are of hatchery origin, and have been tagged by a large coastwide tagging program initiated in the 1970s. To date, recovery of CWT provides the majority of our knowledge of the population-specific ocean distribution of this species. Previous work by scientists at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) and Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) has developed a spatiotemporal statistical model for these data, integrating information about maturity, age, population of origin, and fisheries capture (Shelton et al. 2019, CJFAS).

Unfortunately, CWT data don’t exist for all salmon populations, with some populations not tagged at all and others tagged at low rates that often yield inadequate sample sizes at recovery. Many of these data-limited populations have a stream-type life history (e.g., spring-run) or are from wild stocks with no hatchery component. These same populations are often of particular management concern, due to low abundance or listing under the US Endangered Species Act, for example. To potentially address these shortcomings, other types of tagging data exist to improve our understanding of distribution. Over the last 15 years, GSI data has been sampled from some fisheries, allowing the stock of origin to be determined.

Working in collaboration with scientists at NOAA’s NWFSC (Eric Ward, Ole Shelton) and SWFSC (Will Satterthwaite), and at the University of Washington (Ryan Kelly), the aim of this research is to develop a model integrating the CWT and GSI data – essentially treating these as independent observations of a common phenomenon. The initial focus of the modeling effort will be on southern-origin populations (originating in California or Oregon). The modeling approach will be validated based on populations with high amounts of both CWT and GSI samples, and the approach extended to more data-limited populations. Further extensions, including links to environmental conditions, or other drivers, are also possible.

The anticipated start date is January 2021; may be sooner. Initial appointment is for 1 year, 100% FTE, with reappointment up to two years pending performance review and funding availability. The location at which work is to be conducted is flexible, and remote work is possible.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but apply by Dec 1, 2020, to receive full consideration.

A Postdoctoral Scholar is an academic appointment that requires evidence of a conferred PhD by the appointment start date and candidates cannot exceed five years of Postdoctoral experience prior to the end of an appointment.

Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.


  • PhD or foreign equivalent in Biology, Fisheries Science or related fields required.
  • We expect the post-doctoral researcher to lead in the publication of at least one peer-reviewed manuscript, so a demonstrated record of publication is required.
  • Because this project will be largely focused on statistics, our ideal candidate will be proficient in R, spatial and spatiotemporal models, and Bayesian methods.
  • Knowledge of Stan is greatly preferred, though not required.
  • Previous experience working with salmon (or knowledge of salmon life histories) and GSI data is preferred, though not required.


Please upload the following to Interfolio:

1) A letter of interest and how your experiences meet the qualifications

2) A curriculum vitae

3) At least one peer-reviewed publication, and

4) The names and contact information of three references

Contact Ryan Kelly (, Will Satterthwaite (, Eric Ward (, or Ole Shelton ( if you have any questions.

For questions about potential disability accommodation during the application process, please contact the UW's Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450, or 206-543-6452 (TTY), or

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All
qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed,
religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information,
gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Apply now

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