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INSTAAR PostDoctoral Associate

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado-Boulder is seeking a highly qualified postdoctoral fellow to assess climate change impacts on the bioenergetics and vulnerability of fish species in Alaskan and Yukon rivers. The candidate will join a large, multidisciplinary team, guided by an Indigenous Advisory Council, that aims to co-produce knowledge of the impacts of climate change on rivers, fish, and communities.

The successful candidate will join the Arctic Rivers Project, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Navigating the New Arctic program. The post-doctoral fellow will work collaboratively with multidisciplinary investigators from the USGS, CU Boulder, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, and Canadian universities. The post-doc will conduct research into how changes in streamflow and river temperature determine fish physiology and behavior. While the exact research questions can be aligned with the interests of the successful candidate, the general project goal is to assess the metabolic response of fish to projected changes in climate, e.g., using the Fish Bioenergetics 4.0 (FB4) model. Fish species of interest will be co-identified by Indigenous community members and project investigators. Bioenergetics modeling will be used to simulate historical conditions and future changes in fish growth under different climate scenarios as represented by a chain of climate and hydrologic models. The unique model chain resolves climate and land surface variables, streamflow, and river temperature at high resolution over Alaska and the Yukon.

This is a one-year, full-time position with the possibility for extension depending on progress and availability of funds. Salary will be commensurate with experience at the level of a Professional Research Associate. The preferred start date is July 1, 2022.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

As the University’s oldest institute, lNSTAAR (Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research) has a long history of addressing pressing environmental issues. Our traditional focus has been on polar and alpine regions, where effects of global change are especially pronounced. In recent decades, our research has broadened to include environmental challenges that span local, regional, and global scales. Research topics vary widely and include Quaternary and modern environments, human and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape evolution, hydrology, oceanography, and climate.

INSTAAR’s research activities integrate field studies, state-of-the-art laboratory experiments, sample analysis, and numerical and laboratory modeling. Our field sites are located across all seven continents and the world’s oceans. Our expertise across fields helps us generate influential science that can inform public and policy decisions and move us toward a more sustainable society. INSTAAR’s national and international research leadership is augmented by exceptional strength in graduate education and bringing undergraduates into the research process.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

The person in this position will conduct research on the topic of climate change impacts on fish species that spend part of their life cycle in the Alaskan and Yukon rivers. The post-doc will work with a broad and interdisciplinary research team of physical and social scientists at CU Boulder, the US Geological Survey (USGS), and NCAR. The position is located within the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) on CU Boulder’s East Campus in Boulder, CO, USA.

In collaboration with the research team, the post-doctoral fellow will define the specific research tasks to be conducted as part of the project. They will: solve problems that may arise while completing the research plan; work independently to solve these problems; establish schedules to meet deadlines as needed by project supervisors; and obtain guidance when they cannot make a decision or solve a problem independently.

Primary responsibilities will include:

  • Use existing guidance and observations from Indigenous knowledge holders to form research questions.
  • For fish species identified by Indigenous partners – and for those fish species without direct measures of growth, metabolism, or waste – estimate bioenergetic parameters using values in the literature.
  • Use a bioenergetics model to simulate historical conditions and future changes in fish growth under different climate scenarios.

What You Should Know

  • The candidate may have the option of performing field work in this job position.
  • The candidate should be willing and ability to communicate effectively with Indigenous partners and scientists with expertise outside of your field.
  • All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to comply with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.

What We Can Offer

Salary will be $55,000.00 annually.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be ambitious. Be game-changing. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A Ph.D. degree in ecology, biology, the natural sciences, or related fields.
  • Expertise in fish ecology, food web dynamics, and/or climate change impacts on fish.
  • Experience communicating research results through public or partner engagement, publication in peer-reviewed journals, and presentations at scientific meetings.
  • Experience with or willingness to learn data analysis software such as R, MATLAB, or Python.

What You Will Need

  • Be able to work effectively with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbally and written, including listening, and responding to questions effectively.
  • Proficiency with basic computer software including the Microsoft Office suite and online collaboration tools such as Zoom, Slack, or Google Drive.
  • Must have the ability to pay close attention to details and keep clear and accurate records.
  • Willingness to learn new methods or skills to support project goals.
  • Willingness to collaborate and share results with a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to lead, mentor students, and follow guidance, including responding constructively to others’ ideas and suggestions and a willingness to develop creative solutions to challenges that arise.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Expertise in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems.
  • Expertise in the ecology of large river systems.
  • Expertise in data analysis using statistical software such as R, MATLAB, Python, etc.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. List of contact information for three references who may be contacted on your behalf.
  4. Proof of degree

If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.

Review of applications will begin January 31 and will continue until the position is filled.  Any questions can be directed to the search committee members:

Keith Musselman ( – CU Boulder, INSTAAR

Cassandra Brooks ( – CU Boulder, ENVS

Mike Carey (, USGS, Alaska Science Center

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

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