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Opportunity at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Spatial Processes And Stock Assessment Methods: Development of a Spatial Management Strategy Evaluation Tool (SPASAM: MSE)


National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

RO# Location
26.03.78.C0682 Newport, OR 97365


name email phone
Aaron M Berger 541.231.1417
Jonathan J Deroba 508.499.8325
Daniel Goethel (907) 789-6000
Brian J Langseth 425-666-9939


Incorporating spatial processes has been identified as a high priority research need for “next generation” stock assessments.  While advancements have been made to address spatial considerations, particularly in defining best practice for stock assessments, little research has been conducted that evaluates spatially explicit stock assessment models in combination with management actions (i.e., management procedures). By accounting for spatial structure across the assessment-management interface, spatially explicit management strategy evaluation (MSE) tools can help identify the combination of assessment and management options that are robust to uncertainties in spatial processes and likely to achieve management objectives. Building upon an existing spatially-explicit simulation and stock assessment framework (SPASAM), this project will develop the modeling capacity to conduct generalizable, closed-loop simulations (i.e., spatially explicit MSE). The MSE tool (i.e., an R package) will be applied to an array of case studies emulating high profile, federally managed species where a relatively complex, spatially explicit operating model will be implemented that will not match the simpler spatial assumptions of a range of management procedures. Thus, the MSE applications will help identify under what circumstances (i.e., population dynamics, spatial processes, and data limitations) spatial assessments combined with various management approaches outperform spatially aggregated management procedures. This research is also expected to contribute to nationwide efforts to develop generalizable and modular code for conducting stock assessments, and will involve collaboration with a group of scientists from several NMFS regional Science Centers. This project requires strong quantitative/analytical skills. Qualified applicants should have a background in population dynamics, stock assessment, applied mathematics, theoretical ecology, or a related field. Strong programming skills (e.g., R, AD Model Builder, Template Model Builder) are a necessity.

Stipend and travel allowance are set by the NRC, and depend on duty station, which can be at any of the following NOAA labs:

NEFSC - Woods Hole, MA - $56,000 stipend and $2000 travel per year

AFSC - Juneau, AK - $58,000 stipend and $3000 travel per year

NWFSC - Newport, OR - $58,000 stipend and $3000 travel per year

NWFSC – Seattle, WA - $58,000 stipend and $3000 travel per year.

Other duty stations might be considered based on Covid-19 or other circumstances.

Application period begins March 1, 2022 and closes May 1, 2022. A new application period will begin on June 1. For information on the program and to apply online go to:  For questions, please contact Jonathan Deroba at

Bosley, K.M., Schueller, A.M., Goethel, D.R., Hanselman, D.H., Fenske, K.H., Berger, A.M., Deroba, J.J., and Langseth, B.L. 2021. Finding the perfect mismatch: Evaluating misspecification of population structure within spatially explicit integrated population models. Fish and Fisheries: DOI: 10.1111/faf.12616.

Goethel, D.R., K.M. Bosley, B.J. Langseth, J.J. Deroba, A.M. Berger, D.H. Hanselman, and A.M. Schueller. 2021. Where do you think you’re going? Accounting for ontogenetic and climate-induced movement in spatially stratified integrated population assessment models. Fish and Fisheries 22:141-160.

Berger, A.M., J.J. Deroba, K.M. Bosley, D.R. Goethel, B.J. Langseth, A.M. Schueller, and D.H. Hanselman. 2021. Incoherent dimensionality in fisheries management: consequences of misaligned stock assessment and population boundaries. ICES Journal of Marine Science 78: 155-171.

stock assessment; MSE; spatial; management; fish; fishery; population dynamics; simulation;


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.

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