Vacancy: Biological Oceanographer/Statistical Modeller
Type: Fixed 12-month term with possibility to extend
Salary: Competitive depending on qualifications and experience
Location: Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland, UK
Application deadline: Open until filled
There is increasing tendency to assess the physical habitat of cetaceans by examining their spatial distribution and fine-scale behavioural responses in relation to abiotic (synoptic oceanographic) parameters. These include, inter alia, fine-scale bathymetry (depth, slope, etc.), seabed type, currents, real-time water temperature (satellite-derived), salinity, ocean height, frontal positions, prey distribution, and ocean colour (areas of high biological productivity). Synoptic oceanographic data are of overriding importance, since it is the gradients and extent of primary production and temperature contrasts which are the likely determining factors for marine mammal presence/concentration. Determination of these relationships can, on the large scale, enhance precision of density and abundance estimates, and on smaller scales (e.g. daily acoustic detections), disentangle effects of oceanographic variables from anthropogenic influences, such as potential effects of seismic exploration, drilling, installation of renewable energy structures (e.g. windfarms), defence activities, etc. Such analyses improve the way we manage and design conservation strategies for these species. Moreover, knowledge of a species’ habitat can help us predict where animals are likely to be, potentially decreasing impacts when undertaking anthropogenic activities.
Ocean Science Consulting Limited (OSC) is a privately-owned technology-focused marine-science company involved principally in the global supply of underwater noise and marine mammal monitoring, and risk mitigation services. OSC reinvests >80% of profits into Research & Development (R&D), orientated primarily towards high-level research on the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and other marine mammal species, Rigs-to-Reefs using Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) footage, underwater noise measurement and modelling, and improving marine mammal and environmental monitoring standards worldwide. OSC’s research has resulted in many peer-reviewed publications (www.osc.co.uk/publications-and-press-covers) and a non-profit book entitled the Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook (http://www.pelagicpublishing.com/the-marine-mammal-observer-and-passive-acoustic-monitoring-handbook.html).
OSC seeks to expand its UK-based team. This is a rare opportunity for fixed-term (option to extend) employment as a PhD-qualified (or equivalent experience) Ecological Modeller. The role involves working primarily in OSC’s R&D wing, although suitable candidates may also be considered for a combination of offshore/commercial duties. The role will firstly involve assimilation of oceanographical/biological productivity/bathymetric data, followed by untangling relationships between these data and marine mammal detections. The candidate will ideally have extensive knowledge of the variety of online-data inventories and data-holding centres from which data can be sourced (e.g. Copernicus, NOAA), and experience sourcing, downloading, handling, and analysing these data (e.g. ocean colour, Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Chlorophyll-a, etc.). These sources provide the main environmental variables with which marine mammal detections (echolocation-click detections using C-PODs, Marine Mammal Observer (MMO), and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) detections) will be investigated by way of temporo-spatial analytical/modelling techniques such as GAMs/GLMs.
It is anticipated that over the course of the year, the candidate will bring to completion ca. five manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Applicants must therefore be able to source, consolidate, analyse, interpret, and present these data in the form of high-level, peer-reviewed papers, that must be brought to completion on commercial and not academic timescales (i.e. weeks, not months), with minimal supervision from line managers (i.e. autonomous). Consultancy is not academia, and the work environment is extremely fast paced. The candidate may also be presented with urgent commercial requests as these arise and must therefore be able to switch from one project to another. Prioritisation is of high importance.
Job description can be found on: https://www.osc.co.uk/careers/vacancies
A successful candidate will have the following:
- A minimum of two, first author, ecological-modelling related peer-reviewed scientific papers in a top journal (i.e. not a proceedings paper);
- A PhD (or equivalent experience) in a relevant scientific marine discipline (statistics/oceanography/marine biology/marine ecology, etc.);
- Strong statistical analysis background ideally in R (e.g. GLM, GAM, PCA, HBM, INLA, time series analysis, distance sampling, etc.);
- Experience sourcing and processing oceanographic datasets (CTD, synoptic satellite-derived or modelled data, etc.) and handling data of various types including: netCDF, csv, txt, etc.;
- Excellent spoken and written English (to peer-reviewed, non-copy-edited level);
- A genuine interest in marine mammals and benthic ecology, and an understanding of the physical parameters of the ocean which affect them;
- Ability to collaborate within a team setting to produce high-calibre publications and reports; and,
- Must be legally allowed to work in the UK prior to employment (we cannot assist with visas).
- Machine learning and image processing (of ROV imagery);
- Experience making publication-quality maps in QGIS; and,
- Experience with referencing software (e.g. EndNote).
Interested candidates should send a CV and cover letter to: email@example.com. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and successful candidates will be invited to an interview (via Microsoft Teams). An interview task will be provided comprising both written and practical components.
OSC Recruitment Team