Postdoctoral Associate (Water Quality - Mississippi Sound)

Mississippi State University

Starkville, MS, US

Position Function:

Water quality in the Mississippi Sound is affected by natural variability and management decisions. Management decisions may (or may not) be causing a wide variety of impacts that have important social, economic, and ecological significance. For example, the Bonnet Carre Spillway has opened four times in the last three years and the Mississippi Sound Barrier Islands are eroding and being rebuilt by the USACE. There have been massive die-offs in oyster reefs since 2010, harmful algal blooms caused beach closures in 2019, dolphin strandings and crab mortality show signs of increase, and there are decreases in shrimp production. These management decisions and ecosystem impacts have been discussed widely in scientific circles and popular press; however, little has been done to quantify changes in water quality and assign causal ecosystem relationships. This is, in part, due to the complex hydrodynamics of the system. Freshwater flows from the Rigolets, Pearl River, and Mobile River are variable and water quality in the Mississippi Sound is further influenced by tidal circulation and winds. Moreover, ecosystem responses are based on interactive relationships between water quality parameters such as temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. These relationships complicate our understanding and management of water quality and ecosystem health in the Mississippi Sound.

This position will entail compiling and analyzing existing hydrodynamic, water quality, and ecological datasets with the goal of identifying drivers of water quality in the Mississippi Sound. This information will be useful in informing monitoring, management, and restoration efforts. Activities will also include interactions with ongoing research and resource managers. The results will allow for a better understanding of the spatial and temporal relationships between water quality and ecosystem health in the Mississippi Sound and Bight, as well as an improved capacity for management policies towards increased sustainability and resilience.

Salary Grade:  UC

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are “Unclassified” and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Conduct research on spatially and temporally variable coastal hydrodynamics, water quality, and ecology in the Mississippi Sound; write reports and peer-reviewed publications, and other duties assigned by the supervisor.

Minimum Qualifications:

PhD in environmental science, engineering, or related field

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience with coastal watershed processes, physical nutrient, and phytoplankton dynamics, and coastal ecosystem-integrated approaches.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Processing and analysis of large databases; GIS and water quality modeling; computer coding; and statistical software

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

The applicant must have the ability to perform routine office work as well as coastal fieldwork.

Instructions for Applying:

Apply on-line by submitting a cover letter, resume, copy of your PhD transcript, and list of three references.

Restricted Clause:

Position contingent upon funding availability.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.