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Postdoc, Great Lakes Benthic Ecology — UWM School of Freshwater Sciences

Expiration Date: 

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences has been conducting research on nearshore benthic ecology in Lake Michigan for more than two decades. Specific research topics include benthic algae ecology, nutrient cycling by invasive dreissenids, nearshore trophic dynamics, community metabolism, and mechanisms responsible for avian botulism outbreaks. We are searching for a Post-Doctoral Associate who can help further this research through analysis of a large, multidisciplinary data set, augmented with continuing field research. The existing data set includes measurements of water quality, benthic algal abundance and nutrient content, benthic invertebrate abundance and composition, carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, fish abundance, hydrodynamics, time-lapse imagery, and meteorological conditions. Specific topics to be explored with this data set include: 1) Factors regulating the growth and fate of benthic algae; 2) The influence of invasive species (dreissenids, round goby) on nearshore trophic structure and energy flow; 3) The response of the nearshore benthic community to dreissenid mussel removal; 4) The influence of weather and climate (including lake levels) on nearshore ecosystem dynamics.

The successful candidate for this position will perform the following tasks:

  • Conduct analysis (including visualization, statistics, and potentially modeling) of a large, multi-year, nearshore ecosystem data set.
  • Publish results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Contribute to report writing and project management.
  • Train undergraduate and graduate students in field and lab methods.
  • Design and implement field research that builds on existing data and furthers our understanding of critical research questions and management challenges related to the Lake Michigan nearshore ecosystem.
  • Communicate data and information to scientists, managers, policy makers, and the general public in the Great Lakes community.


  • PhD in biology, ecology, limnology, biogeochemistry, aquatic ecosystem modeling, or related field.
  • Publication record with proven writing skills.
  • Strong oral communication skills.
  • Familiarity with limnological field and lab equipment, which may include CTD, water quality sondes, Niskin samplers, ADCPs, real-time data buoys, spectrophotometer, gas chromatograph, isotope ratio mass spectrometer.
  • Ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • SCUBA certification, or the willingness to become SCUBA certified.
  • Applicants must be able to meet eligibility requirements for work in the United States.

The School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS) at UWM is the only school in the nation dedicated solely to the study of freshwater issues. Its interdisciplinary research and education programs link science with action and are integrated across five major areas: freshwater system dynamics; human and ecosystem health; freshwater technology; freshwater economics, policy, and management; and climate and atmospheric sciences. It is the School’s goal to be recognized worldwide as a source of expert knowledge on water issues and a catalyst for great ideas that change how people think about and manage water resources. The School is based in the heart of Milwaukee’s Latinx community in the Harbor District, with direct access to Lake Michigan. Our school facilities include state-of-the-art laboratories, the Great Lakes Genomics Center, a 72-foot research vessel (R/V Neeskay), several smaller boats capable of working on Lake Michigan, and a well-equipped machine shop. The UWM campus and greater Milwaukee communities offer strong opportunities for research collaboration and professional development.

More information about the School’s academic and research programs is available at

$52,000 per year. This is a 2-year position and includes a generous benefits package. The expected start date is September 2024.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. UWM values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

How to apply
Applicants are requested to submit the following:

  • A cover letter stating research interests and career goals
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • Copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Contact information for three professional references

Application documents should be sent as email attachments to:

Dr. Harvey Bootsma
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences