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Applications of Satellite Water Quality Products for Freshwater Habs & Estuary Seagrass Monitoring
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Reference Code
How To Apply

A complete application consists of:

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

If you have questions, send an email to EPArpp@orau.org. Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.

Academic Levels
  • Post-Master's

A research participation training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD)/National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL).  This appointment will be served with the Exposure Methods and Measurements Division (EMMD) in Durham, North Carolina.

Data  from  satellite  remote  sensing  can  address  and  inform  communities  on  water  quality changes  that  impact  societal  uses,  such  as  consumption  and  recreation. This  research project  explores  issues relevant  to  understanding  the  general  utility  of  remotely  sensed  data  for  cyanoHAB  and seagrass occurrence monitoring using previous and current operational satellite sensors. This research project develops scientific approaches for mainstreaming satellite water quality capabilities into U.S. fresh and estuarine water quality management decisions (e.g. www.epa.gov/cyanoproject). This research project is on the cutting edge of water quality monitoring and applied satellite operations transitioning to high performance and cloud computing resources. The research participant will be involved in geospatial statistics, computer coding, and ecological/human health exposure related research.

The research participant will have the opportunity to interact with multiple federal agencies and academics involved in a broader research effort addressing various issues related to satellite water quality research for inland waters and estuaries. The participant will have the opportunity to gain experience using data and tools developed by multiple federal agencies and academic institutions. He/she will also have an opportunity to gain experience in problem formulation, data analysis and interpretation, statistical and mathematical programming, and technical communication. The participant will be encouraged to participate in manuscripts and presentations.

This research training opportunity will involve the research participant in the following activities:

  • Temporal and spatial analysis of freshwater cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms and connections to drinking and recreational waters.
  • Estuarine water quality satellite algorithm validation and applications.
  • Estuarine seagrass modeling and spatial analysis
  • Hands on use of European Space Agency satellite sensors such as MERIS on Envisat, OLCI on Sentinel-3, MSI on Sentinel-2, USGS Landsat OLI, and Digital Globe WorldView-2 & 3.

The mentor for this project is Blake Schaeffer (schaeffer.blake@epa.gov). 

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. The appointment is full time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. Funding may be made available to reimburse the participant’s travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or participant’s health insurance. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.


Applicants must have received a master's degree in computer science, earth and geosciences, engineering, environmental and marine sciences, agricultural science, agriculture, forestry sciences, ecology, ecosystem ecology, wildlife sciences, mathematics and statistics, physics or a closely related discipline within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Eperience in applying computer coding knowledge and GIS skills will be beneficial to this research opportunity.


Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Master's degree or have received this degree within 60 months.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Physics (All)
    • Earth and Geosciences (All)
    • Engineering (All)
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences
    • Agricultural Sciences
    • Agriculture
    • Ecology
    • Ecosystem Ecology
    • Forestry Sciences
    • Population and Community Ecology
    • Wildlife Sciences
    • Mathematics and Statistics (All)
    • Computer Sciences (All)
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (All)
  • Veteran Status: None