Research Asst/Sr. Research Asst/Research Associate (closes 12/31/2019)

ASLO Positions

Research Asst/Sr. Research Asst/Research Associate (closes 12/31/2019)

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Research Assistant III/Senior Research Assistant/Research Associate I, II, or III to join the Biology Department. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.


The Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) research group at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is seeking a new member for its technical team. The successful candidate will be hired as a Research Associate at a grade that is commensurate with level of training and experience. This person will support efforts to deploy in situ imaging and chemical sensors in research efforts throughout the U.S. and abroad. Prior experience in sensor applications and development, networking, mooring deployments, and/or small boat operation is desirable but not required. Candidates should have relevant experience in biological oceanography, phytoplankton research, and operations aboard small boats and research vessels.

The HAB research group currently deploys or supports installation of robotic instruments and observatory platforms in the Gulf of Maine (GOM), Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, China, and Singapore. The current suite of sensors includes the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) and the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), both manufactured by McLane Research Labs, Inc. (MRL, Falmouth, MA). These sensors are deployed from various platforms including moorings, observatory barges, and autonomous boats.

The Research Associate will oversee or support annual deployments of these instruments and platforms, including organization and participation in multiple research cruises every year. The individual may also be asked to coordinate additional field surveys on an as-needed basis.  Good troubleshooting skills, effective time management, ability to work independently, and attention to detail are essential.


  • Preparation of three to four ESPs for dockside and offshore mooring deployments on an annual basis, including installation of reagents, filters, batteries, calibration of wet chemistry, and maintenance of deployment systems.
  • Preparation and deployment of IFCBs and observatory platforms at field sites on Cape Cod and the Maine coast;
  • System troubleshooting as needed in coordination with HAB team members and/or WHOI and MRL engineers as needed;
  • Planning and preparation of research cruises targeting blooms of Alexandrium and Pseudo-nitzschia in the GOM;
  • Organizing and participating in event response cruises on an as-needed basis;
  • Computer programming or computer network/systems support for research related tasks; and
  • Preparation of annual reports, scientific publications, research proposals, and documentation of methods and procedures.


As deemed necessary by supervisor. 


  • Applicants must have a Ph.D., or a B.S./M.S. in Biology, Environmental Science, Engineering, or related fields and several years’ relevant experience that might include the following:  
  • Involvement in research programs targeting harmful algal blooms or phytoplankton;
  • Familiarity with autonomous biological and chemical sensors;
  • Familiarity with Linux operating systems and scripting languages (bash, python, MATLAB, and/or Ruby); and
  • Prior research cruise/field experience.
  • Applicants with especially relevant experience and/or doctoral training may be considered for appointment at the Research Associate level but will be expected to develop research and funding with a high degree of independence. Applicants should state and justify their desire to be considered for appointment at this level.


  • Experience with ESP, Imaging FlowCytobot, or similar in situ sensing systems;
  • Familiarity with data visualization and analysis;
  • Ability to test and troubleshoot electronic systems;
  • Experience with sediment coring and processing, and other oceanographic field operations;
  • Experience leading small teams and/or field operations; and
  • Record of accomplishment doing independent work.


Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to ability to lift less than 25 lbs per day and carry up to 20 lbs per day as well as reaching above and below the shoulders, stooping/kneeling, and climbing ladders/stools. Must have the ability to use hands for basic grasping/manipulation as well as fine manipulation. Visual abilities to include depth perception, ability to adjust vision to bring objects into focus, and ability to distinguish basic colors. The occupational requirements for this position are the ability to work with and around other individuals in a lab setting and at sea, as well as alone. Visual abilities of near vision needed as well having the ability to hear, respond, talk, and travel. May be exposed to hazardous substances or specimens.  Physical duties are subject to change.


May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

WHOI is a member of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). We are sensitive to the issues of dual career candidates and we will work with applicants to address them. Please visit HERC - for more information.

WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email for assistance.