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Whale-Fisheries Interaction Modeler


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Ad number:#680752270
Contact:Ocean Associates, Inc.
City:La Jolla
Compensation:Comm. W/ Exp.


Ocean Associates, Inc. (OAI) is seeking a Scientist to provide support to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The position is based in La Jolla, CA. OAI supplies personnel support services on contract to government and industry clients for marine fisheries and protected species. This position will support the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) and other programs as they pertain to conservation and management of federal fisheries, protected species, and their habitat. 

In recent years, NMFS has engaged in collaborative efforts to address whale entanglements along the U.S. West Coast. These efforts have included 1) active participation in a multi-stakeholder Dungeness Crab Whale Entanglement Working Group (WG) to identify approaches for reducing whale entanglements in partnership with CA State, the fishing community, and NGOs, and 2) a collaborative “Research Roadmap’ to conduct research in support of whale entanglement risk reduction. Considerable progress has been made on the initial steps of the Research Roadmap. During 2017, the WG used initial results to develop a draft framework for evaluating whale entanglement risk throughout the fishing season (based on ocean conditions and prey availability) and identifying potential within-season mitigation measures. Other research efforts have focused on the development of fine-scale models of whale distribution and density in both spring and fall, collecting model validation data, analyzing fishing effort data, and conducting preliminary entanglement risk assessments. The incumbent will work with existing Research Roadmap scientists to support further whale entanglement risk reduction modeling efforts and to develop tools that make the results of this research available to managers. 

Expected position start date: Starting 6/9/20 

Location: La Jolla, CA 

Salary and Benefits: Full time schedule, 40 hrs. /wk. Salary commensurate with experience. 


  • Update the previous risk assessment analyses to incorporate new whale data, new fishing data, and new management scenarios, as applicable. Write and/or contribute to manuscripts describing risk assessment analyses. 
  • Convert the analyses conducted in the risk assessment to a tool (e.g., R Shiny Application) that allows users to explore how management actions change risk. 
  • Process oceanographic data sets.
  • Participate in fieldwork and stranding response on an as needed basis. 

Required Knowledge and Experience

  • Education Required— Bachelor's degree, or higher, from an accredited college or university with a major directly related in a field of study as related to this position with emphasis in fisheries, oceanography, social science, natural science, mathematics, or hydrology 
  • Experience working with species distribution models 
  • Experience working with Automatic Identification System data 
  • Ability to write code in R to: 
    • Calculate model evaluation metrics, such as AUC, TSS, and RMSE 
    • Import, map and manipulate spatial data (particularly using the sf package for faster processing of spatial data) including clip to area, erase land, and project data 
    • Overlay multiple maps onto a single base grid and calculate areas of similarity and differences
    • Assess the effects of management actions on spatially explicit estimates of risk 
  • Ability to create R Shiny Applications 
  • Ability to contribute to writing scientific manuscripts 
  • Experience conducting marine mammal field research 
  • Preferred knowledge of ArcGIS 

If you are interested in being considered for this position, you MUST APPLY THROUGH OAI’s WEBSITE ONLY. Go to OCEANASSOC.COM, click on Careers, then click on Job Openings, find the position you wish to apply for.

Only qualified applicants that meet minimum experience or background requirements stated above need apply. When applying for this position you will be asked to upload your resume at the end of this online application.

Applicants should submit a resume that includes the following:

  • Cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the required and preferred qualifications listed.
  • Work history for past 10 years or since last full-time education.
  • Education.
  • Previous experience or training with similar requirements.
  • Three professional references.  
  • Include your name in the document file name.
  • Upload your resume in readable, not scanned, PDF or Word format (PDF is preferred).  

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States, complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire, and successfully complete a federal government background check.  Ocean Associates Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. 

OAI is a government contractor and is required by law to invite applicants to self-identify their race, gender, national origin, disability status and veteran status. OAI is required to use the information it collects as part of its future affirmative action efforts in hiring. The information is collected anonymously by computer and is not connected to your application. You will see a place to check certain boxes in OAI's online application. Even though the information is anonymous, self-identification is voluntary. You can always check the box that says you decline to self-identify. 

Note:  If you are not selected, your materials may be retained for present or future opportunities. We may use your resume in bidding on a project and if we are awarded the work we will contact you before seeking further applicants. If you do not wish us to retain or use your resume to seek work for you, please let us know in the "Notes" section on the second page of the online application. 



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