Postdoctoral position in Management Strategy Evaluation

Postdoctoral Fellow
Quantitative fisheries and ecosystem science
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA

The Department of Fisheries Oceanography at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) is looking for an outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow (PF) to work under the supervision of Dr. Gavin Fay, assistant professor of Fisheries Oceanography, to develop and evaluate quantitative tools for assessing and managing fisheries in the Northeast U.S. under climate change.

Climate-mediated changes in the Northeast U.S. Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem are unprecedented, and the impacts of these changes on marine fisheries resources are increasing. Once abundant and supporting a profitable fishing industry, some groundfish stocks in the Northeast U.S. have declined to record-low biomass in recent years, whereas others have increased. Shifts in productivity of Northeast U.S. groundfish may reflect individual species responses to recent warming and associated oceanographic changes. It is crucial to understand how fisheries management procedures could consider climate-driven changes and evaluate whether these procedures would result in more adaptive, successful management of groundfish species given forecasted climate change. Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) is a powerful simulation-based framework for structured decision-making that can compare the performance and robustness of management options given uncertainty and quantify tradeoffs among multiple, possibly competing ecological, economic, and societal objectives.

The PF will collaborate with scientists at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center on a 3-year research project to develop and apply a MSE for Northeast US groundfish fisheries that tests the performance of stock assessment methods and harvest control rules under climate change. The PF will develop alternative climate-responsive fisheries management procedures for key species and write code to implement these within an MSE framework, linking modeling efforts with results and activities of other project researchers. The PF will undertake MSE analyses that include technical interactions as part of a mixed fishery analysis, and quantify the expected ecological and economic performance of the alternative management procedures. The PF will interact closely with another postdoc based at GMRI to coordinate application of the project’s modeling framework. The computer programs developed by the PF will provide a general framework that can apply to other species and/or large marine ecosystems. The PF will take a lead role in the writing and publication of reports, peer-reviewed papers, and presentations at scientific meetings on the results of this research.


  • An earned PhD degree in a relevant discipline, such as Fisheries Science, Statistics, Ecology, or other related field, that demonstrates a strong quantitative background. [candidates with nearly-completed PhDs will also be considered]
  • Experience fitting statistical models to data, including demonstrated fluency in statistical/modeling programming languages (e.g. R, AD Model Builder, Template Model Builder).
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, as evidenced through publications in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and presentations to a variety of audiences.

Additional knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Experience fitting population dynamics models to data for fisheries stock assessment and application of simulation testing frameworks like Management Strategy Evaluation is preferred.
  • Knowledge of fisheries management, and understanding of the management process in the U.S.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team to successfully complete project goals.
  • Strong pedagogical skills.

The position has an annual salary of $55K plus benefits. The position is full-time for three years, with the second and third years of funding conditional on the PF making satisfactory progress during the first year. Start date is flexible; the successful candidate could begin as early as October 2017.

The position will be located at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth SMAST’s new marine science building in New Bedford, MA with expectation for travel to scientific meetings and for meetings with regional project partners. The PF will join a dynamic group of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in a growing lab focused on quantitative approaches for fisheries assessment and ecosystem-based management. Opportunities exist for teaching, student mentoring, academic training, and participation in regional scientific advisory working groups dependent on PF interests and career goals. The PF will be encouraged to collaborate with students and staff at all collaborating institutions. In addition to Dr. Fay, project PIs include Dr. Lisa Kerr & Dr. Andrew Pershing (GMRI), Dr. Sarah Gaichas (NOAA NEFSC), and Dr. Steve Cadrin (UMass Dartmouth). Further information on UMass Dartmouth SMAST, GMRI, and the NOAA NEFSC can be found via the institutions’ websites (;; For information on the Fay lab see

Qualified applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, writing samples (e.g. copies of relevant publications), and contact information for three professional references by clicking here. Questions about the position should be directed via email to Dr. Gavin Fay at Review of applications will begin October 1, 2017 and continue until the position is filled.

UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) is a nationally and internationally recognized research institution located in New Bedford, Massachusetts; the nation’s top fishing port. SMAST’s cutting-edge research projects emphasize interdisciplinary basic-to-applied marine sciences and the development of innovative technologies. The SMAST marine science campus, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), creates a major marine science hub in the Northeast US, bringing together more than 150 faculty, students, and staff engaged in education, research and policy related to commercial fishing, coastal preservation, ocean observation, and climate change.

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