A two-year postdoctoral fellow or term research biologist position is available to develop a quantitative stock-wide assessment of American Eel, funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) International Governance Strategy. The research will be undertaken under the joint supervision of Dr. Xinhua Zhu of DFO’s Central and Arctic Region (Winnipeg, Manitoba), and Dr. David Cairns of DFO’s Gulf Region (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island), along with academic collaborators from the University of British Columbia and Acadia University.


The American Eel consists of a single panmictic stock that occupies the West Atlantic Ocean and inflowing waters between Greenland and northern South America. Because of its status as a single stock, assessments should be conducted range-wide. However, both science and management of the American Eel are currently geographically fragmented. Challenges to building an adequate pan-species assessment methodology include the presence of fisheries in some areas and their absence in others, a diverse array of non-fisheries population impactors (e.g. barriers to river migration, invasive parasites, toxic contaminants), and demographic parameters which are highly variable, but poorly known or unknown in large parts of the stock area.


The goal of this project is to construct a workable assessment framework for the American Eel stock. This will involve integration of fisheries-oriented assessment techniques with approaches that address unfished subpopulations and non-fisheries threats, to produce a species-wide understanding of American Eel population dynamics and status. The work will involve, but not be limited to, the application of existing statistical tools to integrate metadata, standardization of abundance and biomass against a set of associated biological, ecological and geographic variables, and geostatistical assessment of the habitat-oriented dependence of spatial distribution of abundance and biomass. The work will require testing the suitability and performance of a variety of conventional or Bayesian statistical toolboxes. Given the collaborative nature of this project, travel will be required to consult and communicate research progress with partners within Canada. This project will also very likely involve some international travel to benefit from recent progress on similar work in other jurisdictions (e.g. Europe and New Zealand). Additionally, through this process, we anticipate the development of collaborative partnerships with academic and government biologists from the US and the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Region, which might facilitate the implementation of range-wide assessment methodologies. 


Applicants will hold a PhD degree and have demonstrated expertise in advanced statistical modeling, computational analysis, and scientific programming. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct independent research and to collaborate effectively with academic and government scientists. The successful candidate will possess excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. Verbal and written communication skills in Spanish and/or French are assets.  Successful candidates will also have a proven capacity to publish in peer-reviewed journals.  


Salary: $55,000 CAD per annum.

Duration: 2 years with the possibility of extending if additional funding is available

Start date: preferably in the summer of 2017 but a start date in the fall 2017 is possible

Location: There is some flexibility with respect to the location but the candidate will be required to work at one of DFO’s science laboratories.


To apply, please send a brief cover letter summarizing your qualifications for the position, update curriculum vitae, and contact information of three references to Xinhua Zhu ( and David Cairns ( Applications will be considered immediately, and until the position is filled.