Monmouth University is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Post-doctoral Researcher in Assessment of Marine Habitats in Support of Fisheries Management and Habitat Conservation. The post-doctoral associate will conduct research with the Urban Coastal Institute (UCI) and scientists at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J. and the NOAA Fisheries Habitat Ecology Branch of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Sandy Hook, N.J. The research will support the development of a Northeast Regional Marine Habitat Assessment (NRHA). The NRHA is a collaboration of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and multiple fisheries management organizations, federal and academic researchers. The purpose of the NRHA is to describe and characterize estuarine, coastal, and offshore fish habitat distribution, abundance and quantity using a partnership driven approach. UCI Director Tony MacDonald is a member of the NRHA Steering Committee.
It is expected that the post-doctoral associate will engage with the NRHA project teams and conduct investigations to assess habitat suitability for key marine fish and shellfish species in the changing environment of the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. Similar work is currently being performed by the NOAA staff in Sandy Hook, using GAM and MaxEnt modeling approaches. The post-doctoral associate will continue to use these models, refine them to meet management and research priorities, and may introduce new modeling approaches. The research will support the NRHA, as well as provide information to designate essential fish habitat (EFH) for Fishery Councils, and support federal EFH assessments and EFH consultations (i.e., better data, better synthesis, more specific habitat information, finer scale information). The work will also aim to identify what habitat areas are rare, sensitive, vulnerable, or are uniquely important to ecosystem function. This will help NOAA and other federal agencies to prioritize consultations and conservation actions, and develop programs to incorporate ecosystem principles into fisheries management, habitat conservation and ensure sustainable fisheries.
It is expected that the incumbent will play a key role to facilitate communications between the model developers and users, as well the North East and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal representatives. The incumbent serve as liaison between the modelers at Sandy Hook and the NRHA, as well as the Regional Fishery Councils, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the state Regional Ocean Partnerships The researcher will participate as a member of the NRHA Project Teams and support outreach to NRHA collaborators, fishery management organizations in the Northeast by presenting results from the modeling simulations, discussing broader implications with fisheries management and by assisting the Monmouth University and NOAA Fisheries scientists to focus investigations to best meet sustainable management and habitat conservation needs. The outreach may also extend to non-fisheries management organizations particularly in relation to protected species, habitat restoration, aquaculture and renewable energy.
Anticipated products from the research include, but are not limited to, maps of species-suitable benthic and pelagic habitats, seasonally important areas or seascapes (e.g., spawning, upwelling areas, etc.), and ‘hotspot’ areas important to multiple species/guilds. Also of importance will be information and data tables linking species use of these habitats for all life stages, groups and guilds of species associated with specific habitats, and other important characteristics. Characterization and mapping should also be coordinated with and inform management and decision-making with respect to multiple ocean uses, including efforts of regional ocean partnerships and ocean data portals. Relevant professional presentations, publications and development of grant proposals to support continued research are expected as well.
The research associate will be based at Monmouth University and have access to and use of facilities at the NOAA Sandy Hook research lab as needed to support collaborative research. The incumbent will work with Monmouth University faculty to identify opportunities to engage undergraduates in research or outreach efforts, and present lectures and other classroom-based presentations. Monmouth University and the NOAA Fisheries Habitat Ecology Branch of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Sandy Hook, N.J currently have a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. There may also be teaching opportunities subject to agreement between the research associate and the relevant University Department.
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