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Opportunity in cyanobacteria blooms at EPA

EPA’s Pacific Ecological Systems Division in Corvallis, Oregon, has a new position available through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). 

The research participant will collaborate on projects within the Pacific Ecological Systems Division (PESD) that examine the relationships between watershed, climate and human drivers of nutrients and harmful algal blooms in freshwater ecosystems. The goal of this research project is to build understanding of the factors that drive nutrient excess and harmful algal blooms to better predict which water bodies are at risk. This research project will explore how water chemistry, watershed land use and land cover, lake morphology, and climate interact and relate to nutrient concentrations, cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in lakes across the US. Providing estimated risk of cyanobacteria blooms in lakes across the country as facilitated by this research would allow the agency and agency partners to better identify which waterbodies need monitoring and potential protection or remediation activities. 

Under the guidance of the mentors, learning opportunities include: 

  • Learning about and compiling data from water-related datasets such as the National Aquatic Resource Surveys, National Hydrography Dataset, and LakeCat. 
  • Using programming for data compilation, including using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to access data, and visualizing results in the form of maps and figures. 
  • Running statistical analyses to evaluate the effects of watershed, climate and human drivers on nutrients and harmful algal blooms in waterbodies. 
  • Assisting with scientific synthesis and preparation of one or more manuscripts 

The candidates should have received a master’s degree in a relevant field received within five years of the appointment start date. Students currently pursuing a master’s degree are also eligible. The research participant will be mentored by EPA Pacific Ecological Systems Division scientists Amalia Handler (handler.amalia@epa.gov) and Jana Compton (compton.jana@epa.gov). Please reach out with any questions. 

To apply and for more information, please visit the opportunity on Zintellect  here

Thank you! 


Amalia Handler (pronounce) (she/her/hers) 

Biologist, Freshwater Ecology Branch 

Pacific Ecological Systems Division 

Office of Research and Development 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

Application Deadline 11/24/2023