Post Doctoral Research Associate - Boutt Lab

Job Details

Job no: 509969
Work type: Post Doc (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Geosciences
Union: Post Doc
Categories: Postdoctoral Research Associate

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

The primary focus of the position is to assess the impact of sea level rise and changes in terrestrial hydrology on groundwater/surface water interactions and water quality in a coastal aquifer system. The postdoctoral position tasks focus on determining the present location and style of FW/SW interactions in an aquifer and using scenario-based modeling assessing impacts of the combined effects of sea level rise and natural and anthropogenic changes in on-shore hydrology.

Using existing data and models the postdoc will determine the possible location of FW/SW interface in the region providing the first maps of the FW/SW mixing zone. These maps will be complemented by compilation of existing salinity data and collection of new salinity measurements to map the current 3-dimensional of salinity in the aquifer. Updating geologic conceptual models of the aquifer system, especially in regions close to the coast, is a key component of the proposed work. Refined hydrogeologic conceptualization will drive the development of a groundwater flow model with the ability to simulate changes in the location of the FW/SW mixing zone due to sea level rise and terrestrial hydrologic changes. The models main purpose is to predict and identify the location of FW/SW interface and assess the location of current modeled FW/SW mixing zone. Model results here will be used to determine the relationship between pond geographical position and geometry and FW/SW mixing zone. Looking into the future we will assess (future looking) different mechanisms of saline intrusion and vulnerability to freshwater aquifer system and flow paths using scenario-based modeling using stakeholder input. Finally, the work will culminate in recommendations for short and long term solutions to remedy possible impacts of saltwater intrusion including the potential for optimal placement of early warning system for saline intrusion and possible alternate locations for freshwater production wells.

Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Interpret hydrogeologic data including well drilling reports, hydraulic test results and water level measurements.
  • Analyze the spatial distribution of groundwater salinity in a coastal aquifer.
  • Develop and analyze density-driven groundwater models for a coastal aquifer.
  • Work with sea-level predictions to incorporate into boundary conditions for modeling.
  • Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.
  • Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Ph.D. from an accredited institution in hydrology/hydrogeology or related field.
  • Broad understanding and experience in hydrologic processes and the application of process models (surface water, ground water, soil physics, overland flow) to researching and solving problems.
  • Experience with one or more codes such as Hydrogeosphere, Modlfow, SEAWAT.
  • Experience in a programming language such as Python, R, or MATLAB.
  • Working with geospatial data using ArcGISPro or similar.
  • Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Background in working with data collection teams and utilizing field data in modeling efforts.
  • Evidence of innovation and success in initiating and completing collaborative research programs in governmental, private sector, or university settings.
  • Experience with the MODFLOW family of codes including GSFLOW and MOFLOW-NWT.
  • Expertise in pre- and post-processing of modeling workflows, including scripting, data visualization, and statistical analysis of model outputs.
  • Physical Demands/Working Conditions

    Office environment with a few trips to the field for assistance with data collection.

    Additional Details

    The position will also afford the candidate opportunities to contribute to density-dependent modeling activities in endorheic basins in Chile and Argentina as part of a consortium of University (Dr. LeeAnn Munk at University of Alaska-Anchorage) and Industry partners. The successful candidate will also assist with an outreach program to watershed stakeholders and volunteers who aid with water sampling and water level monitoring efforts.

    Work Schedule

    Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm, 40 hours a week, 100% FTE.

    Salary Information

    Salary will commensurate with experience.

    Special Instructions to Applicants

    Submit a letter of application, resume and contact information for three professional references. Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

    As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. (

    UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

    Advertised: Sep 7 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
    Applications close:


    The University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the preeminent public research universities in America. Nestled in idyllic Amherst, Massachusetts—often called “The top college town in North America”—the campus is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the nation, and offers a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major urban centers. 

    As one of the nation's top public research universities – as measured by national and international rankings, academic citations, and research funding – the campus spends more than $180 million on research each year, demonstrating its contribution to the nation’s position as a technological and economic leader. The university works in conjunction with academic, government, and private partners to translate new knowledge and scientific discoveries into technical innovations and scholarly works that create opportunities for students, faculty and the public. 

    Eight schools and colleges offer more than 85 undergraduate majors, 68 master’s and 48 doctoral degree programs, many counted among the top programs in the nation and world. UMass Amherst is also home to New England's premier honors college.

    The 1,159 full-time faculty members are dedicated teachers and world-renowned researchers and the campus has regularly been listed among the top performers in terms of faculty awards. With over 24,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, the student body is the most academically successful in the history of the campus. Students participate in 240 organizations, 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, extensive intramurals, living-learning residence halls, community service, and internships. With one of the largest residential life systems in the nation, UMass Amherst houses approximately 12,000 students on campus. The university is enjoying a facilities renaissance, including new buildings in the sciences, the arts, and recreation. UMass Amherst is part of the Five College consortium with Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst colleges.

    As an employer, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a national leader in developing family-friendly policies, benefits and amenities designed to help faculty members develop both productive careers and satisfying personal lives. The university offers one of the nation’s most generous parental leave policies. The university is also part of the Academic Career Network, a regional consortium formed to serve dual-career couples and encourage greater diversity in the academy.


    Find Us
    Whitmore Administration Building
    United States

    Get job alerts

    Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

    Create alert