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Research Fellowships

Linking short-term responses to ecologically-relevant outcomes

EPA Office of Research and Development

EPA National Science Foundation Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) & Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Opportunities

Opportunity Title:

Linking short-term responses to ecologically-relevant outcomes

Research Area:

Safer Chemicals

EPA Lab/Center/Office:

ORD/NHEERL/Atlantic Ecology Division (AED)


Narragansett, RI


12 mos, or summer only, if time limited

Brief Summary:

Opportunity to participate in the conduct of collaborative integrative lab, field and modelling efforts to characterize molecular-to-organismal level responses and make quantitative testable predictions of population level outcomes from exposures to chemicals and other stressors.

Opportunity Description:

The US EPA is mandated to assess the impact of chemicals and other human-mediated stressors on the environment. Thus, a variety of molecular, developmental, behavioral and physiological endpoints are being used to efficiently measure effects of exposures to chemicals and other stressors, yet their quantitative relationship to ecologically-relevant outcomes, such as population persistence, are seldom known. Our research is designed to link short-term experimental endpoints measured at lower levels of biological organization to longer-term outcomes at higher levels of biological organization. To this end, we use lab and field data to inform and test ecological models, often focusing on well-studied populations of the ecologically-important non-migratory coastal fish, Fundulus heteroclitus, Atlantic killifish or mummichog, for which a well-annotated genome is available. Our research is also designed to produce information of immediate utility to chemical risk assessment through the selection of chemicals of known (legacy) and emerging concerns. This opportunity supports participation in the conduct of collaborative studies to characterize sub- (e.g., genomic, biochemical, physiological), and organismal (e.g., developmental, behavioral) level responses and make quantitative inferences (i.e., using bioenergetics, matrix, and individual-based models) relevant to population level outcomes. This AED-based research project takes advantage of our location (on Narragansett Bay, RI, and adjacent to the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography) and world-class marine aquarium facilities.

Opportunities for Professional Development:

The Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) intern will work with AED scientists who collect and analyze data to provide tools for diagnosing and predicting the effects human activities on aquatic resources and wildlife, which support decision-making by EPA Program & Regional Offices and state & local governments.  In addition to our research team of AED scientists, research fellows and students, the GRIP intern will also will interact (as appropriate) with our ORD-wide EPA and academic partners, which include Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Stony Brook University, Boston University School of Public Health, University of California Davis and others, where the GRIP intern will participate in our research integrating field, laboratory, and modeling approaches, and knowledge from sub-disciplines of bioinformatics, toxicology, biology, fisheries and ecology.  

Point of Contact or Mentor:

Diane Nacci (

For more information about EPA Research Fellowship opportunities, visit: