Hours : Full Time ( hours per week)
Contract type : Fixed Term ( years)
Job purpose : To provide high-quality technical research support to meet the scientific objectives of the OCEAN DEOXYFISH project
The Marine Biological Association () is an independent research institute carrying out leading-edge research in fundamental and strategic areas of marine biology.
As one of the world’s longest running Learned Societies (founded in ), the MBA is dedicated to promoting research into our oceans and the life that they support.
Many eminent scientists, including twelve Nobel Prize winners, have conducted their research at the MBA’s Citadel Hill laboratory in Plymouth, UK.
With our Royal Charter and over , members in + countries worldwide, we have the mandate to provide an authoritative and independent voice for the international marine biological community.
A new opportunity has arisen for a Technician (Engineer) to join a large, dynamic team of researchers to undertake high-quality basic research to meet the scientific objectives of the OCEAN DEOXYFISH project (Ocean deoxygenation effects on threatened top predators : New understanding and predictions from novel bio-logging instruments and data).
OCEAN DEOXYFISH is a recently funded European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (€.M) award to , an MBA Senior Research Fellow.
The role offers the opportunity to work on a high-profile international project under the guidance of a leading research team from six countries (UK, Portugal, Cabo Verde, Ireland, Australia, Japan) and linking with the Global Shark Movement Project (), a research collaboration of scientists from countries.
The Technician will be based at the MBA Laboratory in Plymouth, UK, with fieldwork at sea in the UK, Portugal and Cabo Verde.
OCEAN DEOXYFISH focuses on understanding the effects of ocean deoxygenation on marine top predators. Climate-driven reductions in dissolved oxygen (DO) of the global ocean interior (ocean deoxygenation) is leading to expansion of permanent oxygen minimum zones (OMZ) that comprise about % of ocean volume.
Impacts on marine animal distributions and abundance may be particularly significant for high-oxygen-demand top predators, such as warm-bodied tunas and sharks, by reducing habitat volumes as OMZs expand (habitat compression) and concentrating fish further in surface waters where they become more vulnerable to fisheries.
But predictions of how exploited oceanic fish actually respond to OMZ expansions are not based on mechanistic understandings, principally because direct measurements of oxygen tolerances and associated metabolic costs have not been determined.
OCEAN DEOXYFISH will bring about a step change in understanding of OMZ impacts on oceanic ecology by applying the research team’s existing expertise in animal movement studies and by developing new biologging technologies and in situ physiology for measuring oxygen tolerances and metabolism directly in free-living fish.
OCEAN DEOXYFISH will enable major unknowns to be addressed concerning how oceanic fish respond physiologically and behaviorally to hypoxia, the role of OMZs in upper-trophic-level ecology, how oceanic fish habitats change with predicted OMZ expansion, and whether this will increase fish vulnerability to fishing gear.
Objectives will be achieved through linked field, experimental and modelling studies. By focusing on key processes underlying fish responses to DO in situ, new modelling approaches will establish effects of future warming and OMZ shoaling on fish niches and determine how these shift distributions and alter capture risk by fisheries.
The project represents a discipline-spanning approach linking physiology to ecology and oceanography, with wide-ranging outcomes for understanding global biotic responses to warming and ocean deoxygenation with direct relevance to sustainable fisheries and species conservation.
The Technician (Engineer) role will provide technical expertise and support to the Scientific Officer (Engineer) in collaboration with the project team for development, construction and testing of a new megaflume’, a large sea-going swim-tunnel respirometer for measuring the oxygen consumption of large pelagic fishes (sharks and tunas) at a variety of different flow speeds.
The Technician (Engineer) will help to develop and construct the equipment (including working with external manufacturing contractors).
Testing and deployments of the megaflume at sea will be conducted with the support of the project team and research vessels’ crews.
Members of the project team constructed the world’s first megaflume’ for fish respirometry (). Drawing on the team’s experience the Technician (Engineer) will assist the Scientific Officer (Engineer) in developing a new sea-going respirometer capable of meeting the project’s scientific objectives associated with the ecophysiology of large pelagic fishes.
The key objective will be to quantify oceanic fish metabolism directly using the megaflume’ to determine the ecological importance of waters around OMZs to oceanic fishes.
The Technician (Engineer) role will primarily involve contributing to the design changes, construction (working with external contractors where necessary) and testing of the new megaflume to obtain empirical measurements of oxygen consumption of sharks and tunas.
The Technician (Engineer) will work with the project team and vessels’ crews to undertake field deployments of the megaflume.
The Technician (Engineer) will join the OCEAN DEOXYFISH team of researchers working on this and other aspects of shark and tuna movements, behaviour and ecology in OMZ habitats through deployment of newly developed bio-logging tagging technology exclusive to this project.
The Technician (Engineer) will work closely with Scientific Officer (Engineer) in addition to the wider team to achieve the objectives.
The Technician may also contribute to other project objectives and be fully involved in fieldwork.
Salary and benefits
You can contribute over the % minimum and the MBA will match up to a maximum of %
Key Responsibilities include :
Specific OCEAN DEOXYFISH Responsibilities include :
Essential skills / qualifications
Desirable skills / qualifications
The Technician (Engineer) will be based at the Marine Biological Association of the UK in Plymouth, but may be expected to travel to meetings and workshops as needed.
For further information, please contact Prof David Sims ()
Full details including job description can be found here
How to Apply :
To apply please send a covering letter and CV with details of referees to (Ref ERC Technician Engineer application) one of which must be your current employer.
The covering letter should :
Please confirm where you saw the vacancy advertised
Interviews will take place the week of August
Applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK
Further Reading - recent relevant papers by the Research Team :
Vedor, M., Queiroz, N., Mucientes, G., Couto, A., da Costa, I., dos Santos, A.M., Vandeperre, F., Afonso, P., Fontes, J.
Rosa, R., Humphries, N.E., Sims, D.W. () . eLife , e.
Sims, D.W. () In Ocean Deoxygenation Everyone’s Problem : Causes, Impacts, Consequences and Solutions. (Laffoley, D., & Baxter, J.
M., eds), p. . Gland, Switzerland : IUCN.
Payne, N.L., Snelling, E.P., Fitzpatrick, R., Seymour, J., Courtney, R., Barnett, A., Watanabe, Y.Y., Sims, D.W., Squire, L.
Semmens, J.M. () . Methods in Ecology and Evolution , -.
Queiroz, N., Humphries, N.E., Couto, A., Vedor, M., et al., Sims, D.W. () . Nature , -.
Sequeira, A.M.M., Rodriguez, J., Eguíluz, V., Harcourt, R., Hindell, M., Sims, D.W., et al. () . PNAS , -.
Queiroz, N., Humphries, N.E., Mucientes, G.R., Hammerschlag, N., Lima, F., Scales, K., Miller, P.I., Sousa, L.L., Seabra, R.
Sims, D.W. () . PNAS , -.