Postdoctoral Fellow in Geospatial Analysis and Water System Science

Penn State University

State College, PA, USA 🇺🇸


The Department of Geography and the Riparia Center for Water System Science in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State, is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The successful candidate will be working with Dr. Kimberly Van Meter on a USDA-funded project to improve our ability to use remote sensing and other geospatial datasets to predict wetland function. The primary responsibility of the postdoctoral fellow is to collect and synthesize foundational information necessary to determine ecosystem functions in Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wetland easements at a national scale through geospatial analysis. Based on an ongoing synthesis of existing studies, the postdoc will develop an approach to assign and rank ecosystem functions across multiple freshwater wetland types within the conterminous United States and test the approach using state-of-the-science geospatial datasets and techniques in three primary locations: the Prairie Pothole Region, the Upper Mississippi, and the Mid-Atlantic. The project will also involve the development of a metric that describes watershed context as it pertains to the potential importance of individual ecosystem functions. Expected research outcomes will be the development of a robust protocol for assessing the likelihood of wetland functions based on literature and empirical data, as well as analysis of remote sensing and other readily available geospatial datasets.

Specific job duties for the successful candidate will include the following:

  • Assist with data acquisition and quality control
  • Conduct data analysis, which will include not only analysis of collected data but also relevant literature review and synthesis of both publicly available and previously published data
  • Writing and editing scientific articles and reports
  • Model development
  • Mentoring graduate students and undergraduate research assistants working to support project goals
  • Other administrative tasks as assigned/needed to support project goals

A Ph.D. in Water Hydrology or related discipline by appointment start date is required. Experience with remote sensing and geospatial data analysis is required. A knowledge of wetland systems and wetland functional/ecosystem service assessments is desirable, but other relevant backgrounds will be considered. Experience with R, Python, and/or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software (e.g. ArcGIS Pro, QGIS) is required.

This is a postdoctoral position, funded for one year from the date of hire, with an excellent possibility of renewal pending available funding and satisfactory performance.  

The Pennsylvania State University’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences takes an active role in building a talented, inclusive, and culturally competent workforce. We understand that our shared future is guided by basic principles of fairness, mutual respect, and commitment to each other. Applicants should provide evidence, either woven through their application materials or as a separate diversity statement, of a commitment to fostering diversity, equity, inclusive excellence, and belonging and of engagement which creates an inclusive environment in their department/workplace. 


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Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. 


Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.

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