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The Opportunity: The Marine Mammal and Turtle Division (MMTD) and Fisheries Research Division (FRD) at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA/NMFS) seek a highly motivated candidate for a Postdoctoral Research Associate position. Both research divisions have several funded projects focused on developing and using genomic tools to investigate the ecology, evolution, and population dynamics of various marine mammal, sea turtle, and marine fishes and invertebrate species to contribute to their conservation and management. The position will also be part of a larger network of bioinformaticists working in NOAA labs across the country. The network will be responsible for developing and publishing common pipelines and interfacing with NOAA IT groups to support genomics data processing and analysis.

The position will be shared equally among the three genetics programs at SWFSC. However, when developing a proposal for NRC, an applicant is welcome to focus their research interests on any one project or component thereof. Research proposals can also integrate data across multiple programs, which would be especially welcome. Overviews of the available projects within each program are described below.

Marine Mammal Genetics Program

Develop pipelines and analyses for an eDNA time series designed to monitor cetacean diversity and distribution in the Southern California Bight (SCB). Develop cetacean metabarcoding primers for SCB cetaceans, especially rare species. Familiarity with spatial and time series analyses is useful.

Marine Turtle Genetics Program

Develop and validate eDNA tools to detect/monitor presence, distribution and relative abundance of green and leatherback turtles in California coastal and offshore waters. Analyze (and streamline WGS pipelines) new and existing whole genome sequences to examine diversity and local adaptation/selection in leatherback sea turtles and help to develop a new genomic SNP panel to characterize diversity and define population units for western Pacific leatherbacks nesting populations. Process and analyze WGS data for kinship and CKMR studies.

Fisheries Resources Division

Process and analyze metabarcoding eDNA (water sample and stomach content) datasets for fishes and invertebrates to aid in biodiversity inventories and improve predator/prey diet studies. Analyze existing genome and GWAS datasets and help prepare manuscripts for studies examining topics such as sex determination, thermal tolerance, and local selection (including inadvertent aquaculture selection) in fishes (e.g. Seriola spp., Sardinops sagax) and abalone (Haliotis spp.).

Qualifications: Candidates must have bioinformatics experience analyzing eDNA or metabarcoding data, including producing workflows for genomic data analysis, and familiarity with using GitHub for version control and collaborative coding. In addition, the candidate should be proficient with programming in R and bash, and with working in the LINUX command line environment. Laboratory experience with next generation sequencing protocols is beneficial but not required. Applicants must have earned a Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D., D.V.M., or academically equivalent research doctorate no more than five years prior to applying.

This is a 3-year, full-time position offering comprehensive benefits packages, including moving expenses. The position is based in La Jolla, CA, and remote work is not being considered. The position is open to everyone, regardless of citizenship.

Deadline: Applications must be received by NRC by August 1, 2024.

Anyone interested in applying should contact Eric Archer (Eric.Archer@noaa.gov).

Additional information regarding benefits and the application process can be found at https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/rap/for-applicants.