Isotope Hydrology and Managed Aquifer Recharge (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Livermore, CA, USA 🇺🇸

  • Livermore, CA, USA
  • Full-time
  • Job Code 1: PDS.1 Post-Dr Research Staff 1
  • Organization: Physical and Life Sciences
  • Category: Postdoctoral/Fellowship
  • Security Clearance: None (however, assignments longer than 179 days require a federal background investigation)
  • Pre-Placement Medical Exam: Not applicable
  • Pre-Employment Drug Test: Required for external applicant(s) selected for this position (includes testing for use of marijuana)
  • Position Type: Post Doctoral
  • Referral Bonus: Not applicable

Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is essential to innovation and creativity for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Job Description

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher to advance our understanding of the complex hydro-geological and ecosystem interactions that underly groundwater recharge processes using advanced isotopic tracer techniques. The position is embedded in a collaborative LLNL-funded research project to advance the potential for Managed Aquifer Recharge as a strategy to achieve a climate resilient water supply. You will design and carry-out field sampling campaigns to quantify recharge rates and plant water strategies at non-perennial and seasonally intermittent hydrologic systems. Field samples will be analyzed on in-house analytical facilities including nuclear counting methods for novel cosmogenic isotope tracers, mass spectrometry for tritium and dissolved noble gases, and isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy. You will join a diverse team of scientists in the Environmental Isotope Systems group. This position is in the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division (NACS) of the Physical and Life Sciences (PLS) Directorate, in collaboration with researchers in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing.

In this role you will

  • Conduct independent fundamental research into hydrological fluxes between surface water, groundwater, and vegetation in managed and natural systems.
  • Design and execute field experiments to quantify groundwater recharge through non-perennial and seasonally intermittent hydrologic systems, in coordination with stakeholders, well owners, and water agencies.Process and analyze water samples for novel cosmogenic isotopic tracers (sodium-22 and sulfur-35) using a combination of benchtop chemistry and nuclear counting methods in the Environmental Monitoring Radioanalytical Laboratory facilities
  • Process and analyze water samples for stable isotopes, tritium, and noble gases using a combination of isotope ratio mass spectrometry and isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy techniques.
  • Analyze and interpret experimental data, present findings to stakeholders, and publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals.
  • Work well with an integrated, interdisciplinary team.
  • Maintain professional and institutional visibility through participation in conferences.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • PhD in Hydrology, Isotope Geochemistry, or related field.
  • Experience applying isotope tracer data to address research questions.
  • Experience with hydrology field research techniques. Proficient written, verbal, and organizational skills necessary to effectively collaborate within small and large work groups.
  • Experience with scientific data analysis software (e.g. R/Python/Matlab)
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to interact with a diverse set of scientists, engineers, and other technical and administrative staff.

Qualifications we desire

  • Documented publication record in peer-reviewed literature.
  • Experience with laboratory techniques for chemical or isotopic analyses (e.g. nuclear counting, isotope ratio mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy).

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Position Information

This is a Postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of extension to a maximum of three years.  Eligible candidates are those who have been awarded a PhD at time of hire date.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2022 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor!
  • Work for a premier innovative national Laboratory
  • Comprehensive Benefits Package
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs)
  • Collaborative, creative, inclusive, and fun team environment

Learn more about our company, selection process, position types and security clearances by visiting our Career site

Security Clearance

None required.  However, if your assignment is longer than 179 days cumulatively within a calendar year, you must go through the Personal Identity Verification process.  This process includes completing an online background investigation form and receiving approval of the background check.  (This process does not apply to foreign nationals.)  For additional information, please see DOE Order 472.2

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position will be required to pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

Equal Employment Opportunity

LLNL is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to providing candidates and employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. We value and hire a diverse workforce as it is a vital component of our culture and success. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

LLNL invites you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Reasonable Accommodation

At LLNL, our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive experience for all candidates applying and interviewing at the Laboratory.  If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please submit a request via our online form

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.