Careers at UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all UMass Amherst employees. Individuals may apply for a religious or medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. More information regarding the University’s COVID-19 vaccination policies can be found at the UMass Amherst COVID-19 Information page or HR Fall 2021 website.

Post Doctoral Research Associate - Boutt Lab

Apply now 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: Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close:

Back to search results Apply now Refer a friend

Share this:

| More

Returning Applicant?

Login to complete your application and/or apply for more positions.


Job Alerts

We'll send you an email when a position becomes available that matches your search criteria


Human Resources

Visit Human Resources for more information on benefits, payroll, health insurance, retirement and general information about working at UMass Amherst.