Ecosystem Modeling Research Associate

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Gulf Breeze, FL, US


The EPA National Student Services Contract has an immediate opening for a full time Ecosystem Modeling Research Associate position with the Office of Research and Development at the EPA facility in Gulf Breeze, FL.

The Office of Research and Development at the EPA supports high-quality research to improve the scientific basis for decisions on national environmental issues and help EPA achieve its environmental goals. Research is conducted in a broad range of environmental areas by scientists in EPA laboratories and at universities across the country.

What the EPA project is about

Within ORD, the Center for Environmental Measurement & Modeling (CEMM) conducts research to advance EPA’s ability to measure and model contaminants in the environment, including research to provide fundamental methods and models needed to implement environmental statutes. The methods and models developed by CEMM are typically applied at the airshed, watershed and ecosystem level.  Within CEMM, the Gulf Ecosystem Measurement and Modeling Division (GEMMD) provides leadership and specialized research in marine, estuarine, and watershed ecology and ecotoxicology to predict and assess the effects of human-generated stressors on the unique aquatic resources of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico & the Nation.

What experience and skills will you gain?

As a team member, you will provide the technical resources and expertise needed to help develop, parameterize, and calibrate quantitative models to support ecosystem research. Topics will include predicting impacts of changes in land use/land cover, population growth, sea-level rise, and climate effects on coastal communities of the Gulf of Mexico and their associated drainage basins and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. You will assist in estimating ecosystems services, hydrologic networks, economic valuation, decision support tools, scenario analysis, outreach and education, scientific writing, and field and laboratory methods. As a contributing team member, you will also provide assistance on a sporadic basis to assessments of ecosystem dynamics as determined by mentor. You will contribute to research products and meet milestones and project objectives and provide services in support of research directed under the Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Team.

How you will apply your skills


  • Computer programming to format and execute existing quantitative ecological models;
  • Assisting with development of web-applications and Graphic User Interfacing (GUI) for existing ecological models;
  • Conducting literature searches involving data needed to parameterize and calibrate existing ecological models;
  • Converting model output into maps in ArcGIS; and
  • Data entry, documentation, and analysis.

Communications-related responsibilities

  • Participating as a member of a multi-disciplinary research team;
  • Interacting with EPA scientists; and
  • Regularly updating notebook with sample processing details and completion schedules; report regularly via email to inform team members of progress; update electronic reports as necessary.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Work Experience, and Education

  • Experience in at least one of the following computer programming languages: C++, C, C#, Java, FORTRAN, Python, XML or R;
  • Experience finding and organizing data from primary and secondary data sources (electronic media, published standards, and downloadable databases);
  • Experience using Microsoft excel for formatting, normalizing, and managing data for use in mathematical and statistical modeling;
  • Experience compiling, organizing, and summarizing literature references;
  • Experience creating maps with data layers in ArcGIS; and
  • Experience developing graphics, tables and products for scientific reports and manuscripts.

Location:  This job will be located EPA’s facility in Gulf Breeze, FL.

Salary: Selected applicant will become a temporary employee of ORAU and will receive an hourly wage of $21.37 for hours worked.

Hours: Full-time

Travel: Occasional overnight travel may be required.

Expected start date: The position is full time and expected to begin July 2020. The selected applicant will become a temporary employee of ORAU working as a contractor to EPA. The initial project is through May 14, 2021, with up to 4 additional potential optional periods.

For more information, contact [email protected]. Do not contact EPA directly.

  • Be at least 18 years of age and
  • Have earned at least a Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, marine biology, zoology, chemistry, geography, geospatial sciences, or a closely related field of study from an accredited university or college within the last 24 months and
  • Be a citizen of the United States of America or a Legal Permanent Resident.

EPA ORD employees, their spouses, and children are not eligible to participate in this program.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, or Doctoral Degree received within the last 24 months or anticipated to be received by 7/29/2020 11:59:00 PM.
  • Overall GPA: 2.00
  • Discipline(s):
    • Computer Sciences (17 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (23 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (13 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (47 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (12 )