Summer fellow – Ecological modeling, freshwater estuary

Position Description:
Ecological modeling of a freshwater estuary
Muskegon Lake is a freshwater estuary along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and is designated an Area of Concern by EPA and a Habitat Blueprint by NOAA. It is an ideal site to test hypotheses about how hydrodynamic drivers such as material loading, winds, water circulation, and hydrological input shape lake ecology, thus aiding ongoing restoration efforts led by NOAA, EPA, and state agencies. This project aims to shed light on how hydrodynamics affect the ecology of Muskegon Lake and the recurring hypoxia in bottom waters. A systematic biophysical model is needed to understand the nutrient cycles and plankton dynamics in Muskegon Lake, as well as their responses to climate change.
The fellow will work closely with the research team to study how hydrodynamic drivers and anthropogenic stressors affect nutrient and plankton dynamics in Muskegon Lake by:
  • Applying and calibrating a coupled bio-physical model with observations,
  • Analyzing results and engaging in discussion, and
  • Carrying out process-oriented numerical experiments.

Candidates should have a strong interest or background in basic physical oceanography and limnology. Experience with data processing/analysis, computer programming, and ecosystem modeling are preferred.

The position is part of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) 2018 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL). The Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program exposes students to a broad range of disciplines and provides an exciting opportunity for students to conduct research in the Great Lakes region under the mentorship of a CIGLR or GLERL scientist.


  • We are offering eight (8) full-time, twelve-week positions. All positions are located at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), 4840 South State Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
  • Positions will last for twelve weeks from the start date. The start date will be in early May, but this can be flexible (i.e., early June start) based on the selected candidate’s schedule or project needs.
  • We seek to use these fellowships to increase diversity in STEM disciplines and strongly encourage applications from students who identify with groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in government and academic workforces.
  • There is a stipend of $6,500 for the twelve-week period, paid in two installments of $3,250.

*Eligibility: *

  • The program is limited to currently enrolled undergraduate (juniors and seniors preferred) and graduate students. We will also consider post-baccalaureate or post-masters students who have graduated within the past 12 months (of your fellow position start date) if the position fits directly within a student’s career goals.
  • You must be either a U.S. citizen or a foreign national who is residing in the U.S. on a current Student Visa.
  • Immediate relatives of any CIGLR or NOAA GLERL employees are not eligible to participate in this program, consistent with NOAA guidelines.

*To Apply:*

Visit the CIGLR website for application & more information:

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