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Research Scientist/Biological Oceanographer, Zooplankton Ecologist

Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Portland, Maine (US)
Closing date
Nov 2, 2023

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Job Title: Research Scientist/Biological  Oceanographer, Zooplankton Ecologist   

Supervisor: Dr. Janet Duffy-Anderson

Pay Grade: 10 Pay Grade Range: $88,900- $159,900

Salary Range: $90,000- $120,000 


The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) develops and delivers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. We are dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. To learn more, visit

GMRI is seeking qualified candidates to establish a new research group that investigates climate-zooplankton-upper trophic interactions across spatial and temporal scales in the Gulf of Maine and adjacent Large Marine Ecosystems. The successful candidate will have experience with: (a) field-based experimental design and data collection, (b) in-lab analytical approaches, and (c) zooplankton modeling and forecasting to examine temporal and spatial variability in distribution, community structure, and ecology, with a focus on how these are affected by climate change, ecosystem conditions, and anthropogenic stressors. A strong quantitative background in, and technical knowledge of, zooplankton biology and ecology is preferred. 

The incumbent will serve as a Principal Investigator responsible for developing a comprehensive research laboratory and providing guidance, training, and mentoring of 3-4 team members whose work emphasis is biological oceanography, zooplankton community dynamics, and zooplankton as prey for invertebrates, fishes, birds, and marine mammals in North Atlantic waters. The incumbent must be able to effectively communicate results to state and federal resource managers, the scientific community, industry stakeholders, and the public via oral presentations, written reports, and peer-reviewed publications. 

The incumbent will work collaboratively with physical oceanographers, coastal ecologists, fisheries scientists, climate-ecosystem researchers, and socio-economic scientists to apply results to fisheries management, natural and social ecosystem assessments, and marine and coastal businesses throughout the regional Blue Economy. The incumbent will play a critical role in: 1) improving our understanding of the mechanistic relationships between zooplankton distribution, production, and community dynamics to fisheries recruitment and upper trophic level population variability; 2) determining the mechanisms that relate physical oceanography, primary producers, and zooplankton; 3) the role of top-down dynamics on plankton productivity, and 4) assessing the magnitude and direction of the response of Gulf of Maine and North Atlantic zooplankton communities to drivers of climate change.

This position is a full-time (100% FTE), 9-month salaried position located in Portland, ME, USA at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The successful candidate will function as part of an interdisciplinary research program focusing on climate, physical, biological, and socio-economic factors that affect fisheries and the coastal communities that depend on the regional Blue Economy for their livelihoods and well-being. 


  • Conduct high-impact, independent scientific research in the fields of biological oceanography, zooplankton ecology, lower trophic dynamics, and/or lower trophic energy flow to understand food web dynamics, fisheries ecology, ecosystem functioning, and/or climate-related changes to these interactions
  • Develop scientific priorities in lower trophic ecology in response to emerging marine resource and environmental challenges and opportunities, and in alignment with the mission and strategic plan of GMRI
  • Develop innovative methodologies (field, laboratory, modeling) for examining, quantifying, and predicting zooplankton dynamics in coastal and marine systems
  • Contribute lower trophic understanding to the modeling of fisheries and ecosystems
  • Support, guide, and lead large-scale, successful research proposals in biological oceanography, marine ecology, fisheries, and marine ecosystems science that foster interdisciplinary collaboration across GMRI and with external collaborators (Federal, State, Academic, non-profit)
  • Communicate research results to scientific, management, stakeholder, and general public audiences through peer-reviewed papers, presentations, and other media
  • Serve in leadership capacities on local, state, regional, national, and international scientific councils in the ocean/climate/biological oceanography domains
  • Interact with internal groups and external partners to identify ways of improving, advancing, and better integrating work on climate change impacts, adaptation, and resilience to enhance and extend impact
  • Occasional domestic or international travel to meetings, workshops, and scientific conferences
  • Participate in GMRI Communications and Development activities, as appropriate.



Required Qualifications:

  • Doctoral degree in biological oceanography, zooplankton ecology, lower trophic dynamics, or a related field
  • Research expertise in climate-ecosystem dynamics and effects of lower trophic forcing on marine fisheries
  • Knowledge of climate-zooplankton effects on lower trophic community risk, vulnerability, adaptation, mitigation, and resilience
  • Prior experience working in collaborative settings with scientists, natural resource-based industry or business stakeholders, natural resource managers, and/or community members 
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including a robust record of publication in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, lead a group of junior and early career scientists, and contribute as part of a larger, cross-organizational, collaborative team
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills to manage multiple tasks and timelines
  • Fluent in English
  • Eligible to work in the United States

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience working on cross-disciplinary projects as part of multi-institutional collaboration teams
  • Prior experience in successfully securing competitively-awarded research funding
  • Experience with a range of scientific approaches—field-based data collection, laboratory analyses, and computational modeling
  • Experience in time series analyses and the development of indicators and metrics
  • Experience integrating lower trophic data with data from other sources, including satellites, moored arrays, and shipboard, oceanographic sampling
  • Experience developing and communicating scientific results through novel, compelling approaches to data visualization.

Diversity and Inclusion: 

Gulf of Maine Research Institute has a long-standing policy and commitment to providing equal access and equal employment opportunities in all terms, conditions, processes, and benefits of employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. GMRI's employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. 


Applicants and employees are encouraged to voluntarily self-identify their race/ethnicity, gender, disability status and veteran status to assist GMRI in fulfilling various data reporting requirements of the federal government. This self-identification is completely voluntary, will be kept confidential and separate from your application data, and used only to meet federal reporting requirements. Providing or declining to provide this information will not result in adverse action of any kind. 


Salary and Benefits:

Gulf of Maine Research Institute offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

Salary: $90,000 – $120,000 


Application Instructions:


All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter, CV or résumé, and list of three professional references with their contact information. Review of applications will begin immediately.  The deadline for applications is December 15, 2023. Application link follows:



The Gulf of Maine Research Institute's (GMRI) mission is to catalyze solutions to the complex challenges of ocean stewardship and economic growth in the Gulf of Maine bioregion through a fusion of science, education, and community. Working collaboratively with the fishing community, environmental community, scientific institutions, and government agencies, GMRI supports the sustainable use of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. GMRI is housed in our new, state of the art marine research facility on the Portland, Maine waterfront and downtown district. Our organization presently employs 50 people and has an annual operating budget of approximately $7.5 million. GMRI is a world-class, outcome driven, and entrepreneurial not for profit with a strong sense of social purpose and a pragmatic, sustainable business model.

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