Marine Spatial Modeler position at NOAA contractor

Document created by kenbuja Champion on Nov 6, 2018
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To qualify for the position, applicants must be meet the minimum requirements for (1) working in the United States and (2) obtaining access to a U.S Federal Facility. 


To see the full announcement with the job description and minimum requirements, and to apply, please visit CSS' Career Web Portal at:


CSS, Inc. has an immediate need for a Marine Spatial Modeler to join the Marine Spatial Ecology Division, an interdisciplinary science team at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). The Branch specializes in ecological studies that map, characterize, assess, and model the spatial distributions of marine and coastal habitats and movement of organisms across habitats throughout the United States and Island Territories. Experience in marine ecological sciences is being considered; however, candidates with strong backgrounds in spatial/geostatistical environmental or geological modeling related to seafloor habitat mapping are preferred. We seek candidates with demonstrated expertise using scientific programming languages (R, Python, Matlab) to fit a variety of advanced spatial/spatio-temporal statistical models to marine ecological data – including both physical and biological aspects of marine and coastal ecosystems. Successful candidates will help conceive and implement solutions to large, complex spatial and spatio-temporal modeling challenges, including primarily modeling of physical, oceanographic, and geological aspects of marine habitat, and secondarily species’ distributions, and/or marine wildlife survey data. Examples of potential projects include spatial modeling of seafloor habitats; estuarine and coastal habitats; marine ecosystem structure (e.g., connectivity, biodiversity); and spatio-temporal distributions of corals, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals in a variety of US jurisdictions.


Core Responsibilities:

  1. Provide statistical, computational, and analytical support for projects that use predictive models, in conjunction with large habitat, ecological survey, and environmental databases, to provide spatially-explicit maps to address questions of marine management and conservation relevance:
    • Design and implement spatial and spatio-temporal statistical models of marine habitat (primary), and (secondary) marine ecosystem properties, and marine species’ distributions (e.g., coral, fish, seabird, and marine mammal occurrence and abundance);
    • Develop and implement model selection, validation, skill assessment, and ground-truthing algorithms;
    • Synthesize and interpret model outputs in the context of applied management and conservation problems.
  2. Conduct marine environmental data-mining, assimilation, and integration:
    • Mine large databases of seafloor, environmental, and oceanographic data to characterize marine habitats;
    • Develop statistical and analytical approaches for data integration, including data assimilation and multi-scale approaches;
    • Automate data acquisition, data mining, accuracy assessment, and QA/QC.
  3. Contribute to peer-reviewed publications, presentations, and technical memoranda.
  4. Provide statistical guidance and scientific programming skills to team members.
  5. Occasional travel to federal and state laboratories, academic institutions, and field missions as part of collaborative research projects.



  • Minimum of Master’s degree or equivalent experience in Geology, Geography, Applied Statistics, Oceanography, Remote Sensing, Quantitative Ecology or similar highly quantitative field.
  • High level of expertise executing spatially-explicit models in R, Matlab, and/or Python (a code sample may be requested to demonstrate proficiency).
  • Demonstrated ability to independently identify, analyze, and solve complex spatial statistical modeling challenges, working with large data sets and computationally complex tasks;
  • Demonstrated excellent written and oral scientific communication skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in a dynamic, fast-paced, team-oriented, multi-project, multidisciplinary environment.
  • Non-U.S. citizens must possess current documentation authorizing employment in the United States and meet the minimum security requirements for access to federal facilities.
  • A National Agency Check and Inquiries (NACI) background check and fingerprinting will be required.
  • Must be available to start on or about January 2, 2019.



  • Expert R programmer, with skills in at least one additional relevant language (Matlab, Python); additional research experience beyond Master’s degree.
  • Experience with a range of statistical modeling techniques including machine learning, geostatistics, mixed models, and/or hierarchical Bayesian approaches, and corresponding model selection, skill assessment, and uncertainty characterization.
  • Knowledge of marine and coastal science, and marine ecosystems.
  • Experience analyzing marine habitat and/or ecological data; ability to identify benthic marine organisms a plus.
  • Experience with parallel and high-performance computing in cluster or cloud environments.
  • Record of academic publication.
  • Ability to go to sea for extended time aboard a research vessel. Ability to pass a swim test.

CSS, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer, all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.