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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Aquatic Ecology

Date: Dec 31, 2020

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4404 


The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Group within the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks a postdoctoral researcher with an understanding of aquatic biology and chemistry, with a specific focus on contaminant behavior and bioaccumulation in freshwater systems.


The successful candidate will work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team of environmental scientists at ORNL to understand the chemical and ecological factors controlling mercury methylation and bioaccumulation in contaminated aquatic systems and will develop experimental designs aimed at mitigating methylmercury bioaccumulation.  Mercury is one of the most pervasive and widespread contaminants worldwide but the relationship between environmental mercury concentrations, methylmercury production, and mercury bioaccumulation is poorly understood.  Because methylmercury bioaccumulation in fish poses both a human health and ecological risk, there is a need to understand both the chemical and ecological drivers of mercury bioaccumulation in aquatic systems.  In particular, the candidate will examine the effects of filter feeders on mercury dynamics in stream systems.  As keystone species in freshwater ecosystems, freshwater bivalves can drastically affect water quality, habitat, and food web structures, and consequently their presence may also affect mercury bioaccumulation and trophic transfer. The results from this project will be useful in guiding future remediation efforts at Oak Ridge but will also provide a fundamental understanding of the processes governing mercury bioaccumulation in stream systems. 



Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Laboratory experiments to determine mussel bioaccumulation rates, mesocosm experiments to determine impacts of mussel introductions on mercury and nutrient dynamics in flowing systems
  • Field work (water quality measurements, caged mussel deployments)
  • Conduct radioecology experiments to trace contaminant movement

Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in aquatic ecology, aquatic chemistry, environmental science, or a related discipline
  • Proven publication record


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to present and publish their research
  • Candidates with established knowledge of trace metal biogeochemistry (especially mercury) and/or radioecology are especially encouraged to apply. 
  • Prior experience in radioecology is highly valued


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


*Relocation:  Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.
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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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