USFS Postdoctoral Fellowship in River Foodscape Modeling

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

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A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted.  Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations
  • An abstract or reprint of an article or writing sample

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
6/7/2024 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A fellowship opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) within the Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS) located in Juneau, Alaska.

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research Project: The project will develop food web models to inform freshwater fisheries management. The fellow will collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of scientists and postdoctoral researchers to develop spatially-explicit food web simulation models for rivers. Models will be applied to salmon-bearing watersheds from California to Alaska to explore how climate change and watershed degradation/restoration may influence Pacific salmon populations critical to the cultural, economic, and nutritional well-being of communities. Models will combine predator-prey and individual based modeling (IBM) approaches to explore how fish populations are influenced by patterns of resource availability across watersheds.

This research will help elucidate how the network structure of rivers influences the stability of linked meta-food-webs, and will provide a valuable (and rare) example of how food web approaches--when applied at landscape scales--can inform ecosystem management. Furthermore, this project will directly address long-standing calls to incorporate food web approaches into management of salmon-bearing watersheds.

The fellow will be mentored by Research Fish Biologist (Ryan Bellmore) at the Juneau Forest Science Lab and will collaborate with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and managers across multiple organizations, including NOAA Fisheries, University of California Berkeley, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, US Geological Survey, US Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration. There will also be opportunities to work with graduate and undergraduate students and collaborate on aquatic ecology field projects in southeast Alaska wilderness watersheds.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Enhance research, writing, and communication skills via authorship of peer reviewed manuscripts, and information sharing through delivery of web content, presentations, and webinars to regional and national audiences.
  • Develop leadership, collaboration, and project management skills as a member of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and watershed managers.
  • Gain experience developing ecological system models that enhance watershed and fisheries management.
  • Gain knowledge about information needs pertinent to natural resources management with an emphasis on US national forest lands.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Ryan Bellmore ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 2024. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for two years, but may be renewed upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a yearly stipend of $72,553. This participant will also receive a health insurance stipend supplement, a travel/training allowance, and $4,000 for relocation costs. 

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have a PhD in natural sciences (ecology, biology, fisheries and wildlife, environmental science, or similar), earth sciences, or one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree and will reach completion by the start date of the appointment. Degree must have been received no more than five years before the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • A PhD in natural sciences (ecology, biology, fisheries and wildlife, or similar).
  • Knowledge of theory, concepts, and statistical/analytical approaches in food web ecology.
  • Expertise working in stream and river ecosystems and familiarity with the ecology of Pacific salmon or similar freshwater fishes.
  • Experience developing and applying process-based simulation models, especially dynamic food web models and bioenergetic models.
  • Experience working in multi-disciplinary teams, including other natural sciences, social scientists, managers, Tribes, and the public.
  • Ability to communicate highly technical information to non-technical audiences.
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to balance multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to effectively synthesize scientific information, to generate new ideas and methods to accomplish project goals, and a willingness to learn new techniques.
  • A collegial and collaborative working style.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Academic Level(s): Postdoctoral or Post-Master's.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences (7 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (16 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (3 )
    • Physics (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (1 )

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