Coastal Ecosystem Services Mapping in the Southeastern United States - Winter/spring 2021 student position

Position Summary

We are looking for a student to join the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute, focusing on a project to map two ecosystem services provided by coastal habitats – coastal protection and blue carbon storage – in the southeastern United States.  The project looks at the current provision of these services and how the habitats, and their ability to provide services, may change due to sea level rise.  This builds on completed work in the mid-Atlantic (New York south to North Carolina) and will use a combination of geospatial methods previously developed by our team and published InVEST models.  A key component of this work will be compiling relevant datasets and incorporating feedback and input from participating states to refine the models.

This student will be reporting to Ecosystem Services Program policy associate Katie Warnell and under the guidance of program director Lydia Olander.  The student may also work with faculty and student collaborators at Duke and external collaborators.  This is a part-time (8-10 hours/week) paid position for the spring 2021 semester, with the option to begin work during winter break if the student is located in North Carolina or another approved state.  Work will be conducted remotely with regular meetings via Zoom.

Key tasks:

  • Compiling and preparing datasets (e.g., coastal habitat extent and condition, sea level rise scenarios)
  • Creating future coastal habitat projections using a Python model
  • Running InVEST coastal vulnerability and coastal blue carbon models
  • Incorporating participating states’ feedback on initial model results to update model parameters and input data
  • Communicating model results through maps and written products
  • Keeping detailed documentation of methods


  • ArcGIS Pro and spatial analysis (previous experience with Python or InVEST models helpful but not required)
  • Data management
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Familiarity with the concept of ecosystem services

To Apply

To apply, please send your resume or CV and a cover letter to Donna Brown,  We will being interviewing Monday, November 16th on a rolling basis.


The intent of this job description is to provide a representation of the types and level of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title. It shall not be construed as a declaration of all specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position, as employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Duke also makes good faith efforts to recruit, hire, and promote qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.