Postdoctoral Scholar - Chinook salmon life-history genomics at the University of Washington and Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: College of the Environment

Organization: Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar - Chinook salmon life-history genomics at the University of Washington and Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Position Details

Position Description

Prof. Kerry Naish’s research group in applied evolutionary and ecological genetics at the University of Washington’s Molecular Ecology Research Lab (MERLAB) seeks to hire a Postdoctoral Scholar to join a collaborative program shared between the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) and Dr Paul Moran and Dr Krista Nichols at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC, National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA). The position is supported by NOAA Cooperative Research funds administered through USGS. The project is entitled, “Historical and contemporary genomic architecture of Chinook salmon age structure, body size, and juvenile life history.” The candidate hired into this position will have the opportunity to be at the forefront of genomics research with specific relevance to fisheries and wildlife conservation.


The Genetics and Evolution Program within the Conservation Biology Division at NWFSC is dedicated to supporting the conservation and management of marine and anadromous species, from deep-sea corals, to salmon, to whales. State-of-the-art, genetics and genomics tools provide essential information for managing sustainable fisheries and conserving protected species. This is done by characterizing genetic diversity in marine and anadromous organisms, evaluating the relationship between diversity and population viability, and inferring how human-induced or environmental factors influence diversity, viability, and sustainability. MERLAB is a multi investigator group dedicated to evolutionary, population, and quantitative genetics of marine organisms, as well  as conservation and management of aquatic populations. The lab is part of the vibrant academic mission offered by SAFS, with a strong emphasis on quantitative approaches to the management of aquatic resources.


We seek a postdoctoral scholar to take leadership in research, data analysis, writing, and publication using a variety of databases on individual-specific genotypes, life history traits and population structure. Possible research includes evolution of fitness traits of relevance to conservation, and describing how human activities may impact genetic variation at these traits.  


The project will involve: 

  • Conducting an extensive population genomic study of Chinook salmon.
  • Characterizing the landscape distribution and genetic basis of life history traits in Chinook salmon, such as age structure, body size, and juvenile life history that are relevant to persistence and population productivity.
  • Working closely with scientists at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of Washington, both situated adjacent to each other.
  • Broad collaboration on a joint project including state and tribal partners.
  • Primary duty station at NWFSC Montlake Campus but with frequent interaction among students and postdocs in Dr. Naish’s Lab. Participation in SAFS seminar series, contribution to academic advancement of junior scientists.


This is a full time appointment. The salary for this position will be $69,264 per year, or as mandated by a U.S. Department of Labor prevailing wage determination.

Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.

University of Washington postdoctoral scholar appointments are for a temporary, defined period not to exceed five years/60 months, including any previous postdoctoral experience.


Mandatory Qualifications

  • Candidates will have confirmed PhD by start date in related disciplines, as listed in the position description.    



The ideal candidate will:

  • Be expert in bioinformatics, statistical genomics, population genetics, and evolutionary biology.
  • Be capable of analyzing a large, existing multi-tiered, DNA sequence data sets, including restriction-site associated DNA sequence and whole-genome sequence across lineages, populations, and families.
  • Generate and analyze new sequence data for additional populations.
  • Use bioinformatics, statistical genomics, and evolutionary theory to address a wide range of conservation-related problems, from mapping quantitative trait loci to historical biogeography and demographics.
  • Demonstrate creativity in applying advanced mathematical and computational methods to distinguish among evolutionary models, especially in the presence of potentially confounding forces of migration, mutation, and demography.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but those received by December 20, 2023, will be considered on priority in the first screening. The anticipated start date is May 1, 2024, and the position will start no later than June 30, 2024. The initial appointment will be for one year, with potential renewal for additional years. All materials and commercial sequencing costs are paid by NOAA, and funding is available for one or two scientific meetings per year.


Application Instructions

All applications should be submitted through Interfolio. To apply for this position, please include the following in your application:

  • A letter of intent explaining why you are a good candidate for this position.
  • A current CV
  • PDFs or DOIs of any written materials that demonstrate your previous research experience and your rigorous and scholarly approach to science.
  • Links to online resources or portfolio materials, GitHub pages/repos, Shiny apps, etc.
  • Contact information for at least three references in order of importance.


For questions, please contact Dr. Paul Moran, Research Geneticist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center ( or Dr. Kerry Naish, Professor in SAFS and Director Marine Biology, University of Washington (

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Benefits Information

A summary of benefits associated with this title/rank can be found at Appointees solely employed and paid directly by a non-UW entity are not UW employees and are not eligible for UW or Washington State employee benefits.

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