Postdoctoral Scholar in Remote Sensing of Inland Water Quality

University of California-Merced

Merced, CA, US


A full-time postdoctoral scholar position is available in the Earth Observation and Remote Sensing Lab in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Merced. The postdoctoral scholar will be based in Merced, California and will work under the supervision of the PI, Dr. Erin Hestir. The focus of the research is to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of surface water quality using optical satellite remote sensing (Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2). The primary objective of this project is to develop a tool for the science and management community that enables high resolution mapping of surface water mercury (Hg) in the upper San Francisco estuary. A main goal of the work is to develop models to estimate mercury and methylmercury from optical water quality parameters derived from in situ instruments (e.g., fluorescence, absorbance) and optical remote sensing (e.g., turbidity, suspended solids, dissolved organic matter, and algal matter). The anticipated result is high spatial resolution time-series maps of dissolved and particulate mercury species in the upper estuary surface waters which will be used to address two primary science questions: 1) the effects of wetland restoration on Hg speciation and mobilization on downstream sub-regions, and 2) the transport and fate of Hg in the system.

The postdoctoral scholar is expected to carry out research involving the retrieval of water quality parameters using above-water radiometry and satellite remote sensing data, conduct remote sensing studies with the techniques mentioned above, and implement and develop research ideas on aquatic biogeochemical and hydrological science applications using optical water quality data from remote sensing and in situ measurements with the guidance of the PI. The postdoctoral scholar is also expected to write research articles with the PI aimed at disseminating the results obtained from the research, participate in team-based collaborative science with project partners, including the USGS, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and others, and play an important role in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.


A Ph.D. (at the time of appointment) in the physical sciences (physics, optics, hydrology, environmental science, etc.) or engineering (environmental, electrical, aerospace, mechanical, etc.) with a focus on optical remote sensing. Expertise in remote sensing applied to aquatic biogeochemistry, ocean color or optical water quality is ideal. The successful candidate will have demonstrated strong collaborative skills and will have at least 1-2 first author peer review research papers.

Technical skills include proficiency in programming for remote sensing image analysis, statistical modeling, graphics and visualization (e.g., Python, R, javascript), shell scripting and Unix command lines tools. The ideal candidate will have experience with high-performance computing for image processing and geospatial analysis.

Interested applicants are required to submit 1) a cover letter indicating research interests and experience, 2) curriculum vitae, and 3) a list of three references with contact information including mailing address, phone number and e-mail address submitted through AP Recruit during the application process.

Salary is based on the University of California Academic Salary Scales. This is a full-time, one-year appointment with the possibility of renewal based on availability of funding, ongoing operational needs and satisfactory performance. Review of applications will begin immediately; Position is open until filled with a final closing date of 05/31/2020. Starting dates are negotiable.

For more information, please contact Dr. Erin Hestir at [email protected]

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

Job location

Merced, CA





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