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The U.S. Geological Survey is hiring a post-doc with experience in algal and macrophyte taxonomic ID, stream or lake metabolism modeling, biogeochemical rate measurements, or related fields.

We seek a highly motivated post-doctoral scientist to continue tailwater metabolism modeling efforts and to examine how declining Lake Powell reservoir water levels are changing tailwater primary production dynamics and food availability for higher trophic levels.   
A USGS researcher is on a boat on the Colorado River, Glen Canyon looking a sonde, used for metabolism monitoring
A USGS researcher, Bridget Deemer, conducting a metabolism modeling study using a submerged sonde, on the Colorado River in Glen Canyon below Glen Canyon Dam. Photo taken by Freshwaters Illustrated for USGS.

The post-doctoral researcher will work primarily with scientists at the US Geological Survey Southwest Biological Science Center's Grand Canyon Monitoring Research Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, but will also interact with stakeholders of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program as well as with an interagency group that conducts water quality and plankton monitoring on Lake Powell and in the Glen Canyon tailwater. The postdoc will also have the opportunity to interact with Dr. Bob Hall and his modelscape postdoc team at the University of Montana.

The successful candidate will have good interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills and experience in algal and macrophyte taxonomic ID, stream or lake metabolism modeling, biogeochemical rate measurements or related fields.  

Applicants that have experience working with large datasets and/or as a part of an interdisciplinary team are preferred but not required. The term of appointment will be for at least 18 months, starting salary is highly competitive and a review of applications will begin on February 1, 2023.

Please send a cover letter, cv, and an example of your writing to Bridget Deemer ( and Charles Yackulic ( 

Ongoing aridification and consumptive water use in the U.S. Southwest is leading to declining reservoir water levels and associated shifts in downstream water quality.  In 2022, declining water levels in Lake Powell reservoir resulted in tailwater temperatures approximately 4° C warmer than the highest recorded temperature over the prior 50 years.  In addition to temperature, reservoir water levels can affect tailwater nutrient availability and the transport of plankton communities from Lake Powell reservoir to the Lees Ferry tailwater.  

Long-term monitoring data collected in the Lees Ferry tailwater provides a unique opportunity to study how autotrophic communities and their ecosystem metabolism respond to rapid changes in water temperature and substantial temporal variation in phosphorous loading (nearly an order of magnitude variation in annual scale soluble reactive phosphorus loading since the year 2000). We have developed and applied a two-station model to a decade record of continuous dissolved oxygen and associated water quality data to produce estimates of tailwater ecosystem metabolism (gross primary production and ecosystem respiration). In addition, there is a 30-year record of reservoir and tailwater chlorophyll and nutrient concentrations, as well as phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance and biovolume/biomass.  

Lake Powell and research boat
Photo of Lake Powell from a research boat, showing bathtub rings from minerals deposited on rock walls as the water level has dropped. Photo by SBSC, USGS, 2022.

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