The National Academies Logo
Research Associateship Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies - NOAA

  Sign InPrintable View

Opportunity at National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Reducing Risk of Whale Entanglements to Whales and Fisheries in the California Current Ecosystem


National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

RO# Location
26.03.39.C0205 Seattle, WA 98115


Name E-mail Phone
Samhouri, Jameal F 206-302-1740


The Ecosystem Science Program at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center conducts innovative, integrative science about connected natural and human systems to inform the stewardship of fisheries, protected species, and ocean ecosystems. This research helps to guide NOAA’s mission to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Program focuses on a wide diversity of topics, primarily related to the U.S. West Coast, and relies on approaches that range from highly qualitative to highly quantitative.
We invite applications for an NRC Postdoc Associate position to join the Program.

We seek a highly motivated researcher to develop and implement a collaborative, interdisciplinary project focused on predicting distributions of fishing activity in the California Current ecosystem. The underlying motivation for this work is a dramatic increase in the number of reported marine mammal entanglements in fisheries gear on the U.S. West Coast since 2014. Recent interactions including nearshore entanglements of baleen whales, primarily humpback whales, were driven at least in part by nearshore habitat compression of anchovies coinciding with heavy fishing effort for Dungeness crabs due to delayed fishery opening.

The goal of the successful candidate’s research is to provide insights into (i) the locations of hotspots of trap- and pot-based fishing activity, and (ii) relationships between these fishing locations and environmental predictors (e.g. bathymetry, SST, chl a, fronts, weather, fuel prices, etc.). The work will produce 1+ peer-reviewed publications that includes a statistical model (e.g., boosted regression tree, maximum entropy) that can predict the distribution of fishing activity  along the US west coast from 2009-2018. The data that will ground the analyses will include but not be limited to PacFIN fish tickets, NMFS Vessel Monitoring System geolocations of commercial fishing vessels, and environmental data available from the ERDDAP database. As long as the needs of the project are met, the postdoc has freedom to follow their interests and produce publications related to the general topic area.

Experience developing and ideally leading research analyses; experience with at least one analytical software packages (R preferred, MatLab, ArcGIS, Python) and statistical analysis of spatial and temporal data (e.g. generalized linear models, generalized additive models, bayesian approaches, machine learning). Knowledge of multivariate statistics or Bayesian statistics would be preferred. Must have strong willingness for collaboration with other postdoctoral researchers, students, and NOAA scientists.

This work will support ecosystem initiatives at the National Marine Fisheries Service including but not limited to implementation of Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, the Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Road Map, and the National Climate Strategy.


Hazen, E.L., Scales, K.L., Maxwell, S.M., Briscoe, D.K., Welch, H., Bograd, S.J., Bailey, H., Benson, S.R., Eguchi, T., Dewar, H., Kohin, S., Costa, D.P., Crowder, L.B., Lewison, R.L., 2018. A dynamic ocean management tool to reduce bycatch and support sustainable fisheries. Science Advances 4, eaar3001.

Holsman, K., Samhouri, J., Cook, G., Hazen, E., Olsen, E., Dillard, M., Kasperski, S., Gaichas, S., Kelble, C.R., Fogarty, M., Andrews, K., 2017. An ecosystem-based approach to marine risk assessment. Ecosyst Health Sustain 3: e01256.

Watson, J.R., E. Fuller, F. Catsruccio, J.F. Samhouri. 2018. Fishermen follow fine-scale physical ocean features for finance. Frontiers in Marine Science 5: 46.

Ecosystem science; Marine conservation; Climate; Ecosystem-based fisheries management; Ecosystem-based management; Climate change vulnerability; Social-ecological systems; Fisheries; Protected species; Dynamic ocean management


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

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

Copyright © 2014. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.