Application Deadline Extended: Postdoc position in ocean biology data processing and evaluation

The Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research II (GESTAR II) consortium at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the Ocean Ecology Laboratory (Code 616) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The lab conducts research on ocean ecosystems and the interactions between Earth’s chemical cycles and life. The laboratory primarily manages “ocean color” data from NASA satellite sensors. The candidate will join the Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) and focus on the development and evaluation of bio-optical algorithms for derivation of aquatic inherent optical properties (IOPs) from MODIS, VIIRS, OLCI, SGLI, and PACE.

The successful candidate will join the GESTAR II Consortium which supports over 120 researchers based primarily at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). GESTAR II researchers work to create extensive opportunities for breakthroughs in earth and atmospheric science research, carrying out observational, experimental and theoretical research in support of NASA strategic Earth Science mission objectives.

Goddard’s Earth Science Division is home to about 200 civil servants and over 1200 collaborating researchers and support personnel dedicated to studying the Earth as an integrated system that includes the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, and geosphere. The Division operates as a component of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate that collaborate on interdisciplinary research with the Astrophysics Science, Heliophysics Science, and Solar System Exploration Divisions.

The researcher will focus on:

  • developing and evaluating updates to the Generalized Inherent Optical Property (GIOP) software framework,
  • evaluating and refining existing QA/QC metrics and skill assessment procedures,
  • evaluating in situ and other satellite data streams related to bio-optical algorithm development, assembly of data sets, evaluation and intercomparison of time-series,
  • contributing to reporting of algorithm retrieval skill via the OBPG’s ocean color satellite-to-in situ validation system,
  • collaborating with OBPG staff on general ocean color satellite calibration and validation activities,
  • presenting at NASA and professional society meetings and documenting work in peer-reviewed literature, and
  • conducting periodic independent research and assisting with NASA proposal writing as appropriate.

Anticipated specific research duties include investigation of multivariate models and machine learning techniques for use in IOP retrievals and the extension of bio-optical algorithms to ESA/EUMETSAT OLCI and JAXA SGLI satellite data streams.

Required knowledge and skills:

  • PhD in oceanography, physics, mathematics, or a related field,
  • research experience in bio-optics, remote-sensing, and radiative transfer theory,
  • demonstrated working knowledge of inverse models, multivariate modeling and/or machine learning algorithms,
  • proficiency in one or more programming languages such as Python/Matlab/R/Julia for the analysis of scientific data,
  • experience in NASA’s SeaDAS or related satellite data-processing software, and
  • good oral and written communication skills demonstrated by a publication record in peer-reviewed literature and/or scientific reports as first author, and a record of presenting research outcomes at seminars/meetings/conferences.

Desired knowledge and skills :

  • Familiarity with Sentinel-3 OLCI and JAXA SGLI ocean color datasets,
  • experience with measurement uncertainty propagation/estimation techniques,
  • experience working in Unix/Linux software environments,
  • proficiency in FORTRAN, C, or C++ programming language, and
  • experience using version control software git/svn.

How to apply:

Candidates should provide three (3) items for a complete application: a cover letter, CV (including publication list) and a 3-page statement of research interests. Short-listed candidates will be asked to supply three letters of reference at a later date. All materials and inquiries should be sent by email Subject line: Task 130: Researcher Position to: Halley Thompson (

Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. The GESTAR II consortium and NASA/GSFC are committed to building a diverse research community and encourages applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. All GESTAR II institutions are Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employers.

GESTAR II employees work in a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, GESTAR II will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S. or have other protected status under 8. U.S.C.1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

This posting will remain open until November 11, 2022, or until filled. The nominal starting date is in December, 2022, but alternate dates are possible depending on availability.

This position is a one-year contract, renewable depending upon performance and funding availability.

For more information about the proposed research, contact Dr. Jeremy Werdell (