Postdoctoral Research Associate - Integrated Measurements & Modeling of Coastal Terrestrial-aquatic

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Aug 05, 2021
Oct 04, 2021
Job Type
Scientist, Other
Organization Type


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Earth Systems Modeling Group in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). This position provides an excellent opportunity for the candidate to work with a multi-institutional and world-class team of experimentalists and modelers. There will be immediate opportunity for engagement in one or more large-scale and multi-year research projects.


You will work as part of a multidisciplinary team developing representation of coastal processes by coupling DOE’s earth system climate model, E3SM with the biogeochemical model, PFLOTRAN. The position will focus on coastal systems in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, but candidates with research experience in other saltwater or freshwater coastal systems are also encouraged to apply. You will also contribute to development of a multi-scale modeling and observational framework operating at sites, transects, watersheds, and eventually large regions.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop and test new mechanistic modeling representations for coastal wetland vegetation and biogeochemistry, including the influence of redox conditions and salinity gradients on plant growth, accumulation and decomposition of organic matter in sediments, and interactions with hydrologic variation.
  • Work directly with experimentalists and observationalists to test hypotheses regarding variability in biogeochemical processes across coastal land-water interface gradients.
  • Publish research results in high-quality journals, and present results at conferences.
  • Assist in field work during intensive measurement campaigns.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. in hydrology, environmental sciences, geosciences, coastal science, or a related field completed within the last 5 years. 
  • Expertise and experience in developing evaluating, and applying mechanistic models of the hydrological, biogeochemical, and vegetation components of coastal systems.
  • A working knowledge of one or more mechanistic numerical models with relevance to these systems.
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills through published papers and scientific presentations.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in both a highly collaborative team environment and independently


Preferred Qualifications:          

  • A working knowledge of field and laboratory methods relevant to hydrological, biogeochemical, and/or ecological process studies in coastal systems is desirable.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.


For questions about this staff scientist opening, please contact Dr. Peter Thornton <>.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.


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