Post-doctoral position – University of British Columbia

Post-doctoral position: Ecosystem Modeller for Oxygen Cycling in the Salish Sea – University of British Columbia

The Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in the field of coupled biological/chemical/physical ocean modelling. The successful applicant will conduct research into the interplay of oxygen stressors in a diverse coastal environment at time scales from seasonal to decadal. They will work as part of a research group developing and using SalishSeaCast (, a coupled numerical model, based on the NEMO model, of the Salish Sea. The position is for one-year, renewable for a second and third year and preferred start dates are Dec 2022-Feb 2023. Applications will be reviewed starting Oct 10, 2022 but are open until a suitable candidate has been found. 

Project and Responsibilities

This project will focus on oxygen in the coastal ocean, specifically, in the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is a diverse coastal region that includes deep basins, long straight straits, and connected fjords. Parts of the region are strongly stratified by river outflows and parts are strongly mixed due to tides. Some of the region is in close proximity to large urban centers and other parts are remote. The oxygen cycle is complex. As well as direct changes in the incoming oxygen from the ocean, oxygen is also changing due to changes in the incoming temperature and nitrate and thus changes in the biological productivity. It is also being impacted by excess nutrient inputs. This diversity of phenomena within one region makes the Salish Sea an ideal test bed for modelling the interplay of oxygen stressors. 

The primary tool will be SalishSeaCast which runs in real time and also has a > 15 year hindcast. SalishSeaCast includes a physical model, lower trophic biological model, oxygen and carbon models and is forced by realistic atmosphere, river, sea surface height and open boundary conditions. It has been shown to reproduce the physical, biological and carbon state of the Salish Sea with high fidelity. The candidate will confirm the oxygen formulation within SalishSeaCast and evaluate the oxygen results against available Canadian and US observations. They will update the nutrient fluxes, particularly the nitrate flux, from the rivers and add those appropriate for the municipal outfalls. The next step of the project will be to investigate the main controls of oxygen in the system and compare to previous analyses, including those for nitrate and carbon. Sensitivity to the parameters/parameterizations of the major controls will be estimated. The applied component of the project will include nutrient manipulations from rivers and municipal outfalls to determine the impact of these loadings on the system. In collaboration with the larger group at UBC, an investigation of the past and future oxygen cycling including stressors from the open ocean will be made. 

Additional responsibilities will include: reporting to the funding agency, publication of the main results in peer-reviewed international journals and partial supervision of undergraduate students working on this project and mentoring graduate students working on other aspects of SalishSeaCast. 

Minimum Qualifications and Experience

A Ph.D. in oceanography or a related subject with a good background in oceanography as it relates to oxygen cycling and a strong background in deterministic numerical ocean modelling including in modifying a model and evaluating a model against observations. Such a background could, for example, be demonstrated with one or more published papers in the field. The position is for one-year, renewable for a second and third year and preferred start dates are Dec 2022-Feb 2023. Salary is dependent upon educational level and experience; the minimum salary is $60,000 per year plus benefits including medical benefits. This position has the option of a hybrid work arrangement. 

How to Apply

Applications, including a CV, copies of two relevant publications, and the names, e-mails and phone numbers of three referees should be sent to Dr. Susan Allen ( Applications are being accepted now. 

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

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