Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox, photo by J.D. Willson

Postdoctoral Scholar in Metagenomics of Chemosynthetic Communities

University of Washington and NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab
Seattle, WA
Closing Date
Nov. 2, 2019

The Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington has a position for a Postdoctoral Scholar working on marine microbial, invertebrate and fish environmental DNA genetics/genomics/bioinformatics of  hydrothermal vent and methane seep chemosynthetic communities in the G3 lab (Genetics and Genomics Group) at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Dr. Carol Stepien and Dr. David Butterfield, affiliate faculty in Oceanography, are co-mentors for this position. This is a 12-month, full-time (100% FTE) appointment, renewable for a second year, subject to approval, satisfactory performance, and availability of funding.

The G3 lab uses multi-locus metabarcoding and RADseq to study oceanic biological community responses to physical and chemical oceanographic parameters.  We identify, quantify, and assess component species and population genetic relationships for microbes, invertebrates and fishes using environmental DNA (eDNA), plankton, and sediment samples collected with plankton tows, CTD casts, ROVs, and sediment core sampling. Our study regions include the North American West Coast, Salish Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and U.S. Arctic ecosystems, as well as deep sea vents and seeps across the Pacific; the latter will be the focus for this position. We compare biological, physical, and chemical oceanographic parameters to study connectivity among systems and predict the effects of environmental change, including potential deep sea mining, volcanic eruptions, and other disturbances. The new postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity to design and undertake an independent investigation of hydrothermal vent and methane seep biological community diversity, with significant opportunities for field work. We are particularly interested in understanding the connection between the geochemical environment and chemosynthetic ecosystems, and in using microbial and environmental DNA in the ocean water column to link sub-seafloor hydrothermal and cold seep processes to benthic vent and seep fauna.

The duties and research responsibilities include:

  • Conducting bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing DNA assays and analyses
  • Collecting and statistically analyzes data, ensuring accuracy and data security
  • Co-authoring and writes peer-reviewed scientific publications
  • Presenting papers at scientific conferences; participates in external seminars, workshops, professional societies and committees
  • Updating website on progress of  projects
  • Managing regulatory documentation/paperwork
  • Writing or assists with grant proposals
  • Helping graduate and undergraduate student researchers with lab work
  • Conducting work requiring judgment in the evaluation, selection, and adaptation/modification of standard techniques, procedures and criteria
  • Using a wide application of complex principles, theories and concepts in the fields of genetics and genomics
  • Possessing and applying knowledge of genetics,  genomics, and bioinformatics, and advances state-of-the-art research in these areas

Postdoctoral Scholars are engaged in full-time mentored advanced training to enhance professional skills and research independence, and perform primarily research and scholarship under the direction and supervision of University faculty mentors.


  • PhD in Biology, Ecology, or Biological Oceanography or closely related field with specialization in Molecular Genetics
  • Two or more years’ experience in DNA extraction, PCR, DNA sequencing, phylogenetic analysis, population genetics, environmental DNA, bioinformatics
  • Excellent verbal and written skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Effective problem solving/critical thinking skills
  • Strong technical communication and collaboration skills
  • Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be considered

To Apply

Apply online at apply.interfolio.com/66656. Applicants must submit a cover letter, full CV and bibliography.

If selected for interview, applicants will also be asked to provide 3 letters of recommendation (sent directly to search committee from writer) and a short research proposal (maximum 5 pages).

The application deadline is Nov. 2, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

The University of Washington (UW) is proud to be one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research, and community service. Our staff not only enjoys outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty.

The University of Washington is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic, multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The UW serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant student and faculty from over 70 countries. The UW is a recipient of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award to increase the advancement of women in science, engineering, and math. (see advance.washington.edu/.)


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