*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.
EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling (CEMM), Atlantic Coastal Environmental Sciences Division (ACESD), Monitoring and Assessment Branch (MAB) located in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Research Project: This research project is focused on using satellite remote sensing to characterize cyanobacteria blooms in the Great Lakes. Specifically, the participant will collaborate with a team of researchers to:
- Determine phycocyanin in Great Lakes waters. Phycocyanin is a cyanobacteria-specific pigment that is a good indicator of cyanobacteria blooms and abundance although its concentration may vary depending on phytoplankton population. Several PC-retrieval algorithms have been developed based on field- and aircraft measurements of reflectance. The Ocean and Land Color Imager (OLCI) on Sentinel 3 is equipped with spectral bands required for algorithm development (620 nm- phycocyanin and 560 nm for chlorophyll a). This research project will produce satellite algorithms to estimate phycocyanin and chlorophyll a from OLCI spectral data. These models will be validated using ship and glider-based phycocyanin and chlorophyll a data from the Great Lakes.
- Research relationships between HAB blooms and water clarity. Water clarity in lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters is affected by physical, chemical and biological factors that are connected to the natural geology and human use of the surrounding watershed. Due to an overabundance of nutrients, cyanobacteria create large spatial scale, visible algal blooms that appear as spilled green or white paint, a bright green pea soup, or surface streaks. This research project seeks to associate the intensity of cyanobacteria with water clarity using cyanobacteria cell count numbers, associated with blooms, as derived from the Cyanobacteria Index (CI) used in the CyAN application and secchi depths estimated from multispectral data from the Sentinel 3 satellite. to assess the spatial extent, magnitude, and duration of HAB blooms for ambient waters at a variety of spatial scales from individual water bodies to regional and continental scales.
Under the guidance of a mentor, the research participant may participate in the following training activities:
- Retrieval of OLCI spectral data from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA at sampling dates that coincide with water quality sampling data retrieved from tribal, state and government monitoring databases (computer searches, downloading and storing data)
- Developing computer code which merges the spectral and water quality datasets based on a metric common to both (creating, testing, debugging and implementing computer code)
- Retrieval of cyanobacteria cell count numbers derived from the EPA Cyanobacteria Network Project (CyAN) and the EPA CyAN app (interaction with CyAN personnel, database searches, downloading, and storing data)
Learning Objectives: The research participant will have the opportunity to gain knowledge by collaborating with a diverse, multidisciplinary team of EPA researchers. Through regular interactions with this team, the research participant will gain insight into the process of using a dataset to develop satellite algorithms, which forecast phycocyanin and chlorophyll a concentrations. These models will be validated using ship and glider-based phycocyanin and chlorophyll a data from EPA research vessels stationed in the Great Lakes. The research participant will have an opportunity to communicate their finding through publication of manuscripts and participation in scientific conferences. The research participant is encouraged to collaborate on writing of manuscripts for publication and project reports.
Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Darryl Keith (email@example.com). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: ~January 2021. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.
Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.
EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.
ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email EPArpp@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.