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Postdoc, Alaska Pacific University

Project Title: Leveraging a stock collapse to produce climate-enhanced stock assessment models for the Gulf of Alaska and Eastern Bering Sea Pacific cod.

Appointment: The successful candidate will receive postdoctoral research appointment at Alaska Pacific University with the potential for a NOAA-AFSC Affiliate Appointment.

Location: Anchorage or Juneau, AK

Brad Harris, PhD, Alaska Pacific University – FAST Lab, Anchorage, AK
Pete Hulson, PhD, NOAA-AFSC Auke Bay Labs, Juneau, AK
Steve Barbeaux, PhD, NOAA-AFSC Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management, Seattle, WA

Andre Punt, PhD, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
Bridget Ferriss, PhD, NOAA-AFSC Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management

The Fisheries, Aquatic Science, & Technology Laboratory (FAST Lab) at Alaska Pacific University (APU) is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to participate in, and lead portions of an innovative study to explain and predict a Pacific cod fishery collapse. The postdoctoral researcher will have an opportunity to collaborate with academic (APU) and agency partners (NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center) and lead the evaluation of alternative assessment model parameterizations to explain the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod collapse in 2015. The successful candidate will investigate and compare environmental links within the two Pacific cod assessments in Alaskan waters, to better understand the effects of warming temperatures on ecology and population dynamics.

This 2-year postdoctoral research position will provide deliverables for the following objectives upon completion: 1) re-analyze and evaluate alternative parameterizations within the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod stock assessment model to explain the stock collapse leading to the 2018 fishery disaster declaration and understand whether this collapse could have been predicted; and 2) investigate environmental links to growth, mortality, recruitment, survey catchability, and survey/fishery selectivity within the Gulf of Alaska and Eastern Bering Sea Pacific cod assessments to evaluate the stock-specific and combined responses to climate change towards forewarning of sudden population changes like that leading to the 2018 fishery disaster. We anticipate that the postdoctoral researcher will lead author at least two publications, at least two technical memorandums, and co-author other publications resulting from this project. The postdoctoral researcher will also lead presentations to NOAA and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Plan Team.

Specific project tasks will include:
● Collate and develop time series of relevant Gulf of Alaska environmental indices to be used in covariate modelling
● Identify potential time-dependent parameterizations to explore, including those with environmental links and non-parametric time-dependent parameterizations for comparison
● Applied identified parameterizations to Gulf of Alaska stock assessment and evaluate effectiveness of each parameterization and scenario to explain and predict the stock collapse
● Collate and develop a time series of relevant Eastern Bering Sea environmental indices related to those used in the Gulf of Alaska assessment
● Identify and develop parameterizations that link Eastern Bering Sea environmental covariates to growth, natural mortality, survey catchability, selectivity, and recruitment
● Compare Gulf of Alaska and Eastern Bering Sea assessments with relevant environmentally linked parameterizations
● Work with project advisors to present results to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Gulf of Alaska Plan Team
● Compile results into two or more publications and other technical agency reports
● Develop proposals for incorporating resulting assessments into future data collection or stock assessment procedures into operations at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council or NOAA

Other tasks could include but are not limited to: work with project advisors to complete outstanding Pacific cod assessment analyses; volunteer field work on surveys (e.g., the AFSC Longline Survey or Alaska Groundfish Bottom Trawl Survey); and opportunities to collaborate on other FAST Lab projects.

Stipend: $75,000 US/year, plus benefits and additional support for travel and computing needs. Funding is provided through a grant from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, in cooperation with NOAA and ADFG.

For more information: Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Brad Harris (, Dr. Pete Hulson ( or Dr. Steve Barbeaux ( prior to applying.

  • Job Type: Post-doc
  • Application deadline: 05/01/2023
  • Organization: Alaska Pacific University with the potential for a NOAA-AFSC Affiliate Appointment
  • Qualifications: Requirements: • Ph.D. in fisheries, statistics, quantitative marine ecology, data science or related discipline within the last five years. • Prior experience managing and analyzing large data sets, database skills and experience with fisheries stock assessments are desirable, and experience with statistical programming languages such as R. • Good organizational and project management skills and willingness to work and collaborate in an interdisciplinary group. • Strong written and oral communication skills to diverse audiences.
  • How to apply: To Apply: Submit a cover letter, CV and three letters of reference to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled, with initial application review beginning May 1, 2023.
  • Location: Anchorage or Juneau, AK

Contact Information

Brad Harris

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