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Opportunity at National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Modeling Climate Change Impacts on the Northeast U.S. Marine Ecosystem using Atlantis


National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center

RO# Location
26.03.38.C0265 Woods Hole, MA 02543


Name E-mail Phone
Gaichas, Sarah K 508 495 2016
Hyde, Kimberly JW 401.782.3226
Saba, Vincent Sellitto 609.452.6535


Modeling climate change impacts on the Northeast U.S. marine ecosystem using Atlantis. The NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center is seeking a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at either the Woods Hole, MA lab or Narragansett, RI lab.  A Ph.D. is required for this position.  Applicants should have a background in: 1) marine science or fisheries science, 2) ecosystem or population modeling, 3) model coding (R, Matlab, etc.).  Experience with end-to-end ecosystem models like Atlantis is desired but not required.  This project will fund a fulltime NRC post-doc that will focus on climate simulations (hindcast and projection) of the Northeast U.S. version of the Atlantis end-to-end ecosystem model.        

Project Background:  In order for the NEFSC to fully assess the impacts of historical and future climate change on the entire U.S. Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (U.S. NES) from physics to production to human dimensions, we must use an end-to-end ecosystem model such as Atlantis (Fulton et al. 2011). Atlantis is a mechanistic simulation model that includes all components of a marine ecosystem from biophysical variables up through economic and social variables.  
The research objective is to use a new, ROMS (regional ocean modelling system) linked version of Atlantis and force it with a new biophysical hindcast of ROMS-COBALT (ROMS with biogeochemistry; Zhang et al. 2018) as well as two high-resolution climate change projections from GFDL’s global climate model CM2.6 (Saba et al. 2016) and the ROMS-COBALT projection under the high emission scenario RCP8.5. These objectives will allow both the validation of the improved Atlantis model (hindcast) and the assessment of multiple, future management strategy scenarios under a changing climate in the Atlantis projections.
The three main tasks are as follows:

1) Couple the Atlantis ecosystem model to output of ocean and biogeochemical forcing variables from the ROMS-COBALT hindcast that runs from 1981-2015 (Zhang et al, 2018). The ROMS-COBALT hindcast will be converted to the same horizontal and vertical spatial scale as Atlantis. The forcing variables will include physics (i.e. ocean temperature, salinity, and circulation) and biogeochemistry (i.e. pH, dissolved oxygen, phytoplankton, and zooplankton). This coupling will result in a hindcast of Atlantis for the U.S. NES from 1981-2015. We will then validate the Atlantis hindcast using observations (i.e. trawl survey data).

2) Couple the Atlantis ecosystem model to output from CM2.6 (Saba et al. 2016) and a new ROMS-COBALT projection that was run under the IPCC’s AR5 high-emissions scenario RCP8.5. This ROMS daily run includes both physics and biogeochemistry for the years 2055-2085. This coupling will result in a state of the art climate change projection of Atlantis for the U.S. NES.

3) Evaluate various management strategy scenarios using the Atlantis climate change projections. This will involve assessing the impacts of adaptive management compared to “business as usual management” to climate change within the Atlantis model. This component of the analysis will include commercial and recreational species, as well as protected species such as marine mammals and sea turtles.    

Relevant Papers:

Zhang, S., E.N. Curchitser, D. Kang, C.A. Stock and R. Dussin. 2018. Impacts of Mesoscale Eddies on the Vertical Nitrate Flux in the Gulf Stream Region. J. Geo. Res.: Oceans,123(1), 497-513. DOI:10.1002/2017JC013.

Saba, V.S., Griffies, S.M., Anderson, W.G., Winton, M., Alexander, M.A., Delworth, T.L., Hare, J.A., Harrison, M.J., Rosati, A., Vecchi, G.A., Zhang, R. 2016. Enhanced warming of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean under climate change. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121(1), 118-132.

Fulton, E.A., Link, J., Kaplan, I.C., Johnson, P., Savina-Rolland, M., Ainsworth, C., Horne, P., Gorton, R., Gamble, R.J., Smith, T. and Smith, D.C. 2011. Lessons in modelling and management of marine ecosystems: The Atlantis experience. Fish and Fisheries, 12:171-188.



Climate Change; Climate Variability; Fisheries; Ecosystem model; U.S. Northeast Shelf; Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management; Atlantis


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
$56,000.00 $2,000.00

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

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