Post-doctoral Position - Mason Flood Hazard Research Lab

The project is part of an exciting and active partnership between George Mason University, The Nature Conservancy (Maryland Chapter) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The project is focused on the State of Maryland coastal areas in the Chesapeake Bay region, which has one of the highest rates of relative sea level rise (SLR) in the U.S., due to a combination of rising waters and sinking land. Maryland is already dealing with impacts from one foot of SLR over the past century, and is expecting up to two additional feet of SLR is likely in the next 30 years. Fortunately, Maryland is also rich in habitats that can help mitigate the effects of SLR, including marshes and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). The proposed project will quantify the wave attenuation and flood reduction benefits of marshes, SAV and other natural and nature-based features (NNBF) along the shores of Maryland’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays. Project activities include: 1) measure hydrodynamic conditions at several NNBF sites, including water levels, current velocities, wave heights, and  vegetation characteristics important to wave attenuation; 2) calculate the economic value of coastal protection benefits by calculating risk-reduction to infrastructure and the avoided cost of replacing natural services with grey infrastructure; 3) model wave attenuation across the state by incorporating the field data into numerical models (ADCIRC + SWAN, XBeach); 4) estimate statewide flood protection capacity of NNBF under current conditions and future SLR scenarios; 5) incorporate wave attenuation benefits into Maryland’s Ecosystem Services Framework (ESF); 6) update Maryland’s restoration and conservation targeting tools to consider coastal protection benefits; and 7) recommend specific conservation and ecosystem management actions (such as ecosystem restoration) to enhance coastal resiliency of ecosystems and human communities. This project will inform management actions by DNR to maintain or enhance the ecosystem services of marshes and other natural features on state-owned lands; re-evaluate Chesapeake Bay SAV restoration goals; improve existing conservation prioritization tools; and provide relatable, local examples to advance efforts by DNR, TNC, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) and others to promote the use of NNBF in county and municipal adaptation plans.

We are seeking an enthusiastic colleague to join our team that is eager to contribute with the project fields activities, coastal numerical modeling and advancing science in support of management needs. Qualified applicants will have earned a PhD in civil/water resources/environmental/coastal engineering, environmental sciences, oceanography, or related disciplines.   This position requires extensive field work in marshes and coastal areas, data analytics and coastal numerical modeling. We are seeking an extremely motivated candidate that enjoys working in interdisciplinary teams. As a member of the Mason Flood Hazards Research Lab, the selected candidate will also have opportunities to contribute and participate in our current research projects as part of the DUNEX US Coastal Research Program in the Outer Banks (North Carolina), our Integrated Flood Forecast System ( that integrates multi-Scale and multi-temporal processes for improving real-time total water level forecasting, and our coastal resilience project in the Arctic, as part of a current National Science Foundation Navigating the New Arctic project. 

Interested applicants should contact Dr. Celso Ferreira at with a cover letter summarizing their research experience and interests in the project; as well as discuss their fit to the project needs; a curriculum vita, and list of three professional references with contact information. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled; however the target start date is no later than May 2020 or earlier.  Funding is initially available to support two years of work and opportunities will be pursued to extend the support.  

More about George Mason University: 

George Mason University is the largest public research university in Virginia, classified at the R1 highest research activity level, with an enrollment of over 38,000 students studying in over 200 degree programs. Mason is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. Mason is located in the city of Fairfax in Northern Virginia at the doorstep of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, with unmatched geographical access to a number of federal agencies and national laboratories. Northern Virginia is also home to one of the largest concentrations of high-tech firms in the nation, providing excellent opportunities for interaction with industry. Fairfax is consistently rated as being among the best places to live in the country, and has an outstanding local public school system. George Mason University recently launched the Institute for a Sustainable Earth ( demonstrating the University commitment to address local, regional and global challenges impacting the sustainability of the Planet. The new Potomac Science Center ( located at the tidal waters of Belmont Bay, at the intersection of the Potomac River and the Occoquan Watershed, is uniquely positioned to establish a regional research hub for environmental and water research in the National Capital Region, with international visibility and global impact. In conjunction with Amazon’s decision to establish a second headquarters in Northern Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced a multi-year plan to invest in the growth of degree programs in computing, and George Mason University has committed to accelerate its plans to grow its capacity in computing and high-tech fields. 

George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment to apply. George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in its community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.