Elizabeth Madin Lab Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Quantitative Conservation Ecology and Machine Learning 2021/2022

Elizabeth Madin Lab Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Quantitative Conservation Ecology and Machine Learning 2021/2022

Deadline: November 15, 2020

Applications are invited for the Elizabeth Madin Lab Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Quantitative Conservation Ecology and Machine Learning 2021/2022. The position will be funded by a recent NSF CAREER award focused on decoding seascape-scale vegetation patterns on coral reefs to understand ecosystem health.

The postdoc will be based in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Madin at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). HIMB is within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. HIMB provides unparalleled research opportunities, in particular due to its unique location on Moku o Lo‘e Island (Coconut Island) surrounded by a coral reef in Kāne‘ohe Bay on the windward side of the island of O‘ahu (~ 24 km from the main university campus in Mānoa).

Research Context and Specific Focus

Human impacts on coral reefs continue to accumulate from a variety of sources, including climate change, fishing and other types of resource extraction, pollution, habitat alteration, and others. Meanwhile, recent advances in remote imaging (e.g., high-resolution satellite and drone imagery), tracking (e.g., automated vessel tracking), and other technologies allow quantification of changes to human activities and coral reef ecosystems in near-real time over local to global scales.

The successful candidate will design and lead research investigating human impacts on coral reefs through the use of new and emerging tools capable of rapidly advancing coral reef science and conservation. Specifically, the postdoc will take a leadership role in the creation of the machine learning algorithms for automated detection and measurement of reef halos from high-resolution satellite imagery, and the integration of results arising from these methods with existing datasets. The postdoc will also be encouraged and supported to develop/execute their own broadly-related research questions (see “Appointment and application” below). Additionally, the postdoc will be actively engaged in mentoring of graduate students/interns and possibly teaching of graduate students.


  • Applicant must have a Ph.D. in computer science, quantitative geography/spatial data analysis, mathematical biology, statistics, quantitative ecology, or oceanography;
  • Publication record that illustrates an ability to conduct novel, independent research;
  • Considerable experience processing, manipulating, and analyzing large datasets;
  • Demonstrated proficiency with R (or related programming languages) and with software tools for analyzing geospatial data;
  • Demonstrated aptitude for applying advanced computational tools in a research setting;
  • Excellent problem-solving skills;
  • Excellent time management skills, including the ability to meet project goals in a timely manner and follow projects through to completion, and meticulous work style, as evidenced by previous research;
  • Demonstrated ability to mentor, or an interest in mentoring, junior laboratory members;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, and to communicate research findings at professional meetings and in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Experience in the development of machine learning algorithms;
  • Experience participating in or leading marine field expeditions, including the use of snorkelling and SCUBA diving;
  • Experience as a small boat operator;
  • Ability to travel internationally for fieldwork and/or conferences.


Candidates should submit the following materials via email to Dr. Madin via [email protected] in a single PDF document, with the file name “MadinLabPostdocApplication_YourLastName” your last name in the file name and the email subject heading “Madin Lab postdoc application” by November 15, 2020 (Hawai‘i – Aleutian Standard Time):

  • A cover letter briefly explaining your motivation for applying for this fellowship, how your prior research experience qualifies you for the fellowship, and how you satisfy the required and desirable qualifications (in dot-point format); 
  • A short (1-2 page) research proposal describing the independent research you would like to undertake (proposals that are creative, scale-able, and relevant to coral reef conservation are encouraged);
  • A CV, including publication list (which may include publications in advanced stages of preparation that will be likely in the review process by the above postdoctoral fellowship deadline date) and names and contact details for three references; 

For more information, visit Elizabeth Madin Lab.