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RAP opportunity at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration     NOAA

eDNA detection of climate-driven range shifts: an early warning system for the arctic


National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center

opportunity location
26.03.68.C0688 Juneau, AK 99801


name email phone
Wesley Alan Larson 760-613-7282


The climate of the high arctic and its communities are changing rapidly. In the North Pacific, trawl surveys and genetic analyses have identified extensive recent northward movement of walleye pollock, Pacific cod, and snow crab, but the permanence and interannual variability of these range shifts is uncertain and difficult to track using traditional sampling approaches. Climate-driven range shifts can alter community composition, food web dynamics, and impact stock assessments for commercial species. To understand the magnitude, extent, and timing of range shifts, the Genetics Program at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center will analyze environmental DNA (eDNA) from water samples collected by an annual research cruise to the Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) across the Northern Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas. The North Pacific plays host to critical fishery species, including pollock, and three additional species of cod (Pacific, arctic, and saffron cod). Given the particular fish community composition in the research area, genetic markers designed for species-level taxonomic assignment will allow for detection of changing species distributions and range shifts for each of these cods. The goal of this project is to develop the laboratory and analytical workflows to obtain confident species-resolution for eDNA samples from the North Pacific, which will lay the foundation for a long-term monitoring program leveraging eDNA to assess changes in species compositions over space and time. The postdoctoral researcher will lead the arctic eDNA early warning system project. This individual will 1) develop laboratory and analytic workflows for detection of high-biomass and commercially important species, and 2) analyze samples from DBO cruises. There will also be substantial freedom in this position to pursue additional eDNA and ecological research including analyzing previously collected samples and designing new studies. The postdoc should be comfortable working with population genetic, eDNA, or metabarcoding data. The position is based in Juneau, Alaska, but a fully-remote arrangement is possible. Candidates should have completed a Ph.D. in eDNA, population genetics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, or a related field before the end of 2022 and within the last five years. A strong background in a molecular biology laboratory and bioinformatics is required. Previous experience with fish or aquatic organisms is not necessary.

key words
Genomics; eDNA; Metabarcoding; Alaska; fisheries; Arctic


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$58,000.00 $3,000.00

$2,000 Location Supplement


Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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