Research assistantships – Louisiana State University

Postdoctoral, PhD and research assistantships in biophysical ocean modeling and marine ecosystem impacts – Biophysical Ocean Modeling Lab at Louisiana State University

Now recruiting for one or more PhD research assistantships and two postdoctoral research associates in biophysical ocean and ecological modeling and data analysis. Post-masters and post-bachelor researchers are also encouraged to apply. Flexible and remote (within the US) working arrangements are available for many positions.

The Biophysical Ocean Modeling (BOM) Lab in the Department of Ocean and Coastal Science (DOCS) at Louisiana State University (LSU) headed by Dr. Cheryl Harrison is currently recruiting new graduate students and research associates to join our research team, with researcher positions open now and student positions beginning as early as Summer 2022. Our research program focuses on modeling interactions between physical and biological processes at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, including the impact of extreme climate forcing events and climate change on ecosystems, fisheries, and biogeochemical processes, and effects of mesoscale transport on ecological processes such as turtle hatchling and larval dispersal. Our research approach is primarily modeling based, running and analyzing Earth system (climate) and regional ocean models, and including biogeochemical, plankton, particle tracking and fisheries models within and forced by regional and climate model output. We have a strong network of national and international colleagues, including FishMIP, the Climate Intervention Biology Working Group, and the Community Climate Intervention Strategies working group. Students will have many opportunities for networking, collaboration and mentoring within these research communities and more focused project teams. For more information about the Harrison Lab, please see:, including links to publications and current lab members.

The Harrison lab is strongly committed to increasing diversity in the geosciences, and encourages applications from women, parents, underrepresented and minoritized students (Black, Hispanic, first generation, LGBTQ+…), and international students from the global south (Latin America, Africa, etc.). While this is a programming-heavy research team, training and support will be provided, given potential research assistants’ excitement for the work. LSU DOCS is ranked in the 2021 top 75 international oceanography programs internationally, and offers a comprehensive graduate curriculum, a supportive department culture, and a strong graduate organizationBaton Rouge has a vibrant and diverse culture, low cost of living, and is 45 min from New Orleans, a top global tourist destination and cultural hot spot.

There are several ongoing projects that research associates could develop projects in:

  • Marine impacts of climate shocks and climate intervention strategies. This opportunity leverages our lab’s experience and connection with the extreme forcing and ecosystem modeling communities to study the impacts of climate shocks, such as global cooling events driven by volcanoes, asteroids or nuclear winter, or climate interventions such as solar radiation management (geoengineering). Foci can be on fisheries, plankton, or biogeochemistry impacts, or more climate policy focused topics, depending on applicant research interests. 
  • Model-data comparison of the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event. Related to the above, this is an NSF funded collaborative project combining simulations of the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs with observed proxies. Our lab is focusing on the ocean biogeochemistry and plankton extinction and recovery. Researchers with experience and/or interest in paleoceanography are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Transport and connectivity in the Gulf of Mexico. This project uses several machine learning methods to study connectivity provinces in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, with application to physical and biological transport. The project is in collaboration with Vincent Rossi and MIO in France, Enrico Ser-Giacomi at MIT, and Yonggang Liu and Bob Weisberg at USF. This is largely a physical transport project to start, and then could go in a more ecological application or physical/mathematical/machine learning direction, dependent on applicant research interests. 

Job details

Postdoctoral Research associates

Postdoctoral positions start at $48K/year, plus a full benefits package and relocation funding. 


The position has a minimum requirement of a Ph.D. in a related field (oceanography, marine science, earth science, geography, engineering, applied mathematics or physical sciences). Candidates should have experience working with diverse data sets and interpreting results leading to scientific publications. A working knowledge of programming and analysis software such as python, MATLAB or R, and the Unix environment is necessary.

Desired skills:

Experience with climate model data and knowledge of marine ecological processes are strongly preferred. Experience with high-performance computing environments is desired. For the KPg project, paleoclimate experience, especially experience with proxy datasets, is strongly preferred. Experience with fisheries would be useful for many of our projects. Please don’t hesitate to apply if you don’t think you have all the above qualifications, we are committed to training our lab members and offering opportunities to diverse folks.

Post-bachelor and post-master researchers

I haven’t hired post-master’s and post-bachelor’s researchers yet but look forward to hearing from you if you have skills related to the above projects and we will talk more about what is possible. Minimum you should have some programming skills and experience working with datasets. See above for desired experience.

PhD research associates

We are actively seeking one or more new Ph.D. students, and students with a Master’s in hand are strongly encouraged to apply, however this is not required. Funding for students includes a stipend for tuition and living expenses, as well as computer and conference travel funding. Student stipends are $30K/year, plus tuition remission. We seek students who are highly self-motivated, independent, and creative thinkers that are enthusiastic about pursuing a career in oceanography, climate science, climate data analysis, marine ecology, or similar topics. A strong quantitative background, including physics and calculus is required, and some experience with computer programming is strongly preferred. For all projects below, there is also strong programming support by scientific programmer Victoria Garza, who will be joining the lab full time in Jan 2022. All PhD research associates will need to relocate to Baton Rouge. For more information on the PhD program, please see the DOCS admission requirements page for information on prerequisites and procedures:

Applicants should contact Cheryl Harrison by March 1, 2022 by email at This email should include: (1) a brief statement describing your research interests and career goals; (2) a curriculum vitae or resume; (3) an unofficial academic transcript 

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