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Assistant Specialist - Tidal Hydrodynamics Modeling Specialist

We are no longer accepting applications for this recruitment



The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment or with social science research methods) in the planning and execution of a research project. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork, and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to participate in the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion on the basis of three basic criteria outlined below.

I. Research in specialized areas (85% effort)

The research objective of this position is to improve understanding of hydrodynamics as they relate to ecosystem function in natural, restored and managed tidal systems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and Suisun Marsh. Specialized modeling and data analysis techniques will be utilized to ensure that data are properly collected and analyzed. The specialist will be expected to work independently with limited supervision and to make substantial contributions toward publishable research.

Provide specialized technical expertise at the Center for Watershed Sciences in hydrodynamics, numerical modeling, bathymetry processing and GIS techniques to understand estuarine and riverine hydrodynamics.

Contribute specialized modeling and data analysis expertise to prepare, evaluate and synthesize inputs for hydrodynamic and water quality models in support of ecological and physical studies. Assess available bathymetric data, assemble hydrodynamically accurate digital elevation models. Develop model grids compatible with DFlowFM and similar models. Catalog and combine available data for model forcing including stage, flow, temperature, salinity, surface wind, and insolation. Develop initial conditions for model fields. Incumbent will use Python scripts, GIS, and related software to manipulate field data time series and to produce requisite data products. Liaise with field personnel to maximize utilization of field data and provide input for ongoing field efforts.

Contribute specialized data analysis and numerical modeling to implement, evaluate and apply hydrodynamic models. Quantify model skill relative to field data. Quantify model sensitivity with respect to input parameters and boundary forcing. Perform error checking and uncertainty analysis. Generate model outputs suitable for use in ecological and statistical models. Create visualizations of model output for communication to the scientific community. Synthesize model output for the benefit of ecological and physical studies.

Serve as a hydrodynamic modeling specialist for projects conducted by PIs in the Center for Watershed Sciences. By using specialized expertise on hydrodynamics of estuaries and rivers, facilitate continuous communication between field, data management and modeling. Project functions and project output functions including preparation of reports, posters, and participation in manuscript writing. Creative activities include assisting in project design, grant writing, proposal review and data analysis by providing to these endeavors the specialized expertise in tidal hydrodynamics for the PIs in the Center for Watershed Sciences. Responsible for writing grant reports for agencies on projects within the area of expertise as requested by PIs and for writing research methods sections of papers in areas of expertise and reviews/comments on manuscripts.

II. Professional competence and activity (10% effort)

The researcher will present at and contribute to presentations of others for at least one professional meeting or workshop per year. Expected events for participation include at the biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference in Sacramento, biennial State of the Estuary Conference and the Interagency Ecology Program Annual Workshop.

Where opportunities allow, the researcher will review proposals or publications related to their areas of scientific expertise and practical experience.

III. University and public service (5% effort)

Act as a technical liaison on issues of tidal hydrodynamics and respond to the needs of federal agencies (e.g., NOAA, USGS), state agencies (e.g., DWR, SWRCB, CVFED), local agencies (e.g., SCWA), and other external groups.
B. Serve on committees of department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate.

Basic Qualifications:

  1. Master's degree in environmental engineering, civil engineering, environmental fluid mechanics, hydrology, or related fields, or technical expertise equivalent to a Master's degree in the area of specialization or five years of training in the area of specialization.
  2. Experience processing bathymetry data including managing vertical datums, horizontal projections.
  3. Experience in scientific scripting and data analysis using Python, R, or Matlab.
  4. Experience using Office software suite or compatible software.
  5. Experience with GIS including use of scripting tools to automate processes.
  6. Experience with grid generation, hydrodynamic modeling.
  7. Knowledge of tidal dynamics and tidal model calibration techniques.
  8. Knowledge of field methods related to physical and water quality data collection.
  9. Organizational and time management skills to coordinate work across multiple projects.
  10. Writing skill to contribute methods sections to peer reviewed publications and to review publications and proposals within area of specialized expertise.
  11. Knowledge to contribute to creative activities including project design, grant writing, proposal review and data analysis in the areas of bathymetry and hydrodynamic modeling.

Preferred Qualifications:

  1. Experience in processing and using water quality datasets.
  2. Experience in management of large, complex data sets using DSS, netCDF, SQL or other appropriate technology.
  3. Experience in model calibration and validation.
  4. Experience in manipulating large raster datasets such as high resolution DEMs.
  5. Experience with scripting and manipulation of time-series data.
  6. Experience participating in collaborative writing efforts such as in preparation of manuscripts for peer review and of grant proposals.

Davis, California

More information about this recruitment:

Document requirements
Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
Cover Letter (Optional)
Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Diversity contributions documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a diversity statement and why one is requested. (Optional)

Reference requirements
3 required (contact information only)

Job location

Davis, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Diversity contributions documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a diversity statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)