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Research Associate in Coccolithophore Biology

Heriot-Watt University

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £36,023 to £44,263 per annum (Grade 7)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 1st February 2024
Closes: 29th February 2024
Job Ref: 3558

Contract: Full time (35 hours per week), fixed term (18 months)

The successful candidate will be part of the Ocean Carbon-And-Nutrient-Dynamics (Ocean-CANDY) research group at the Lyell Centre, working on the UKRI (NERC) funded project ‘Coccolithophore controls on ocean alkalinity’ (CHALKY) with Prof. Alex Poulton. The CHALKY project is part of NERC’s BIO-Carbon strategic programme (bio-carbon.ac.uk/node/32), examining how coccolithophore ecology (growth and death) regulates alkalinity in the upper ocean. The central hypothesis of the CHALKY project is that high coccolithophore mortality rates, via viral lysis and zooplankton grazing, retain the alkalinity associated with coccolithophore calcite production in the upper ocean.

Key Duties & Responsibilities.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

  • Enumerate coccolithophore abundances and species composition using light and scanning electron microscopy;
  • Estimate cell calcite quotas using image analysis of scanning electron microscopy images and newly published cell-specific estimates;
  • Use statistical techniques to analyze the results from the water column and experimental work;
  • Co-supervise team members (doctoral students, project manager);
  • Collaborate with national and international project partners towards the overall goals of the CHALKY project;
  • Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals highlighting the key findings from the research, and present research findings at conferences, and project and programme meetings;

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve. A flexible working schedule may be required to meet all of the key duties and responsibilities.

Education, Qualifications and Experience (i.e. Person Specification)

Essential

  • PhD degree in a relevant field (marine ecology, biological oceanography, or similar);
  • Knowledge of phytoplankton ecology and ocean biogeochemistry;
  • Experience of statistical analysis of community composition using multivariate techniques, either via E-PRIMER software or the R programming language;
  • Track record of peer-reviewed published work and conference presentations as appropriate for career stage;
  • Ability and desire to work in a closely interacting team, but also independently as required by the specific tasks involved in delivering the work;
  • Good communication and scientific writing skills; proficiency in English.

Desirable

  • Experience of identifying phytoplankton species through light and scanning microscopy;
  • Knowledge of coccolithophore taxonomy and/or experience with species identification;
  • Experience of determining cellular biometry and estimation of cell elemental quotas;
  • Knowledge of carbonate chemistry.

Applications can be submitted until midnight on the 29th February 2024.

When applying, please include a CV and cover letter addressing these selection criteria.

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