Research Associate - Spatial Stock Assessment Tool Development
ECS is seeking a Research Associate - Spatial Stock Assessment Tool Development to work in our Silver Spring, MD office. Job Description: NOAA Fisheries' is responsible for the conservation and management of our Nations living marine resources and their habitats. By developing high quality science and supporting an ecosystem-based approach to management, NOAA Fisheries provides important services to the Nation, including sustainable fisheries, healthy ecosystems, safe seafood, and protected species recovery. NOAA Fisheries' fish stock assessments are critical to sustainable fisheries management in the United States by providing the sound science results necessary for the conservation and management of fishery stocks. Using data collected from a variety of sources, a stock assessment uses mathematical models to describe the past history of fishing and the current status of the stock, as well as make predictions about how the fishery will impact stock size in future years. A small number of generic and widely used stock assessment software tools can now account for spatial structure and connectivity. However, assumptions about spatial dynamics are not uniform and may be a major source of process-driven uncertainty. There is little best-practice guidance available to inform the decision-making process when choices among various spatial assumptions need to be made. In response, a fine-scale data simulator is being developed within an international collaborative project to explore differences and commonalities among spatial stock assessment software tools worldwide. This simulator will be the focus of a 2021 World Fisheries Congress workshop where global stock assessment scientists will gather to report on methods/approaches used to incorporate spatial data into stock assessment and provide guidance on future needs for the next generation of spatial models. This recruitment is for a quantitative fisheries scientist to support ongoing projects and conduct independent research related to the development of analytical tools for spatial stock assessments and the assimilation of international spatial modeling advancements. Key tasks include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following: Simulator development, testing, application of estimation models, and dissemination of results Support and contribute to the development, testing, validation, documentation, and maintenance of a spatial population dynamics simulator tool used in fisheries science Be the lead contact for disseminating simulated data to user groups and responding to data requests/clarifications Participate in the development of spatial estimation approaches (stock assessments) applied to simulated datasets Perform simulation-estimation analyses using Stock Synthesis Support and coordinate an international workshop on spatial stock assessment methods Collaborate broadly with NOAA Fisheries leadership, regional NOAA Fisheries line office scientists, and international partners to strategize, coordinate, and manage cooperative relationships with scientists participating in the workshop Facilitate webhosting, distribution, and tracking of workshop related materials Ensure workshop participants have access to necessary materials before, during, and after the workshop Provide workshop logistical support and provide workshop planning guidance Provide data simulator support and participate in simulation experiment planning Keep abreast of NOAA and IT policies to ensure compliance and appropriate provision of analytical tools, simulation inputs, and outputs Communication Collaborate with international stock assessment software developers and field scientists to best meet workshop needs Lead in the development and writing of manuscript(s) reviewing spatial assessment model capabilities and summarizing the workshop outcomes for submission to a peer-reviewed journal Communicate the results of projects and activities to general and scientific audiences in written and oral formats Task deliverables include the following: Reports to leadership and national working groups on workshop preparations and existing assessment method software platforms Tabular comparisons between the spatial capabilities of common and niche stock assessment software platforms and graphical user interfaces Written summaries of simulation evaluations conducted, per needs of the workshop Publications (working papers, technical memoranda, peer-reviewed papers) that describe the analytical tools developed and tested, document workshop findings, or serve as synopses of the study design and simulation experiment Completion of travel reports may be required if international travel (New Zealand, Australia) is required for successful project completion Required Skills: PhD degree in fisheries science, marine ecology, statistics, oceanography, or related field Excellent understanding of population dynamics Knowledge and/or experience with statistical software, such as R, AD Model Builder, and Template Model Builder Experience and understanding of code versioning software, such as Git Familiarity and experience with NOAA Fisheries' stock assessment software, particularly Stock Synthesis, including an understanding of analytical techniques, terminology, and the connection between stock assessment and marine resource management Strong scientific writing skills as documented through peer-reviewed journal articles Demonstrated proficiency for the following skill sets: Project management for complex and technical scientific programs Coordinating and leading diverse project teams to develop, improve, and achieve program goals Communication both verbally and using written materials (including visual presentation) with a variety of audiences including technical, scientific and non-scientific Working with diverse groups of individuals under strict timelines to accomplish goals Working independently with strong time management skills Adaptability to quickly changing priorities Attention to detail ECS is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate or allow discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law. ECS promotes affirmative action for minorities, women, disabled persons, and veterans. ECS is a leading mid-sized provider of technology services to the United States Federal Government. We are focused on people, values and purpose. Every day, our 3000+ employees focus on providing their technical talent to support the Federal Agencies and Departments of the US Government to serve, protect and defend the American People.