Post-doctoral Associate in Microbial Oceanography : Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) is a multidisciplinary marine research institute formed as a collaborative partnership of four universities (Macquarie University, University of Sydney, University of NSW and the University of Technology Sydney). SIMS was recently awarded a Research Attraction and Acceleration Program (RAAP) grant through the NSW State Government’s Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer to support NSW IMOS by facilitating cross-disciplinary integration of IMOS data. Three post-doctoral positions at SIMS are being offered under the RAAP grant. One of these, the subject of this advertisement, will contribute to this RAAP project by examining the links between marine microbial assemblage structure and physical oceanographic drivers within the Australian marine environment. By utilizing a large molecular microbiological data-set and a comprehensive set of oceanographic measurements, this research will deliver important new knowledge on the oceanographic factors that influence both the structure and productivity of the base of the marine food web and its impact on higher trophic-level process, and the important marine biogeochemical cycles that govern climatic processes.

Primary Purpose of Position
The successful candidate will undertake research as part of the NSW Integrated Marine Observing System (NSWIMOS) Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS). The role will contribute to improving understanding of marine microbial dynamics within the Australian marine environment by leveraging a large, continental-scale molecular microbiological data-set collected as part of the Bioplatforms Australia (BPA) Marine Microbes project ( and a rich set of oceanographic contextual data collected by IMOS ( The successful candidate will utilise bioinformatics and/or computational modelling skills and their understanding of oceanographic processes to integrate molecular microbiological and genomic data into oceanographic models. It is anticipated that outcomes of this project will include high impact data-products and research publications. The successful candidate will also join with other post-doctoral researchers at SIMS in contributing to the development of a vibrant research culture at the Institute.

The position will be a two year fixed term, with the possibility of extension subject to continuation of funds.

Key Responsibilities

  • Using a continental-scale molecular database and associated oceanographic data to explore patterns in microbial traits, diversity and function in Australian waters.
  • Perform bioinformatic and subsequent statistical analysis of molecular data, interacting closely with the supervisory team and physical oceanographers to facilitate integration of microbial data into oceanographic models.
  • Quantitatively linking marine microbial community data to higher trophic level and ecosystem- scale processes.
  • Facilitate access and use of sequence data by the broader community, including its storage and metadata curation.
  • Assist with supervision and training of research students.
  • Prepare and submit, high-quality outputs from all research undertaken (publications in quality and top-ranked journals and conference proceedings or equivalents).
  • Liaise with other post-docs involved in the RAAP project to achieve maximum scientific integration across the IMOS portfolio.
  • Contribute to and help build a vibrant research community at SIMS


• PhD in a relevant field such as molecular microbiology, microbial oceanography, or bioinformatics
• Car driver’s licence

Knowledge and Skills

• A strong and broad understanding of the key principles and contemporary questions within the field of biological oceanography.
• High level quantitative skills (e.g. modelling and bioinformatics) and capacity to effectively interpret and integrate biological and physical data-streams.
• Demonstrated high level interpersonal skills (written and verbal communication skills), liaising with researchers within and across research teams to resolve issues, negotiating access to data and resources, documenting results to meet project goals and timelines, and preparing publications for leading international journals.
• Demonstrated ability to work flexibly and independently under broad direction and working conditions (including laboratory and field-based work), within a multidisciplinary research focussed team environment.
• Detailed process-level understanding of the roles of marine microbes in biogeochemical cycles.
• A sound knowledge of physical oceanographic processes and their influence on biological assemblages.
• An understanding of the complex ecological interactions in microbial communities.
• A strong working knowledge of bioinformatics and approaches to statistically analyse molecular data, particularly within the context of amplicon sequencing (16S, 18S) and metagenomic data sets.


• High level hands-on experience of molecular microbiological/genomic data handling and analysis
• Excellent publication track record relative to opportunity and stage in career
• Experience in quantitatively integrating biological and physical oceanographic data

Personal Qualities
• Commitment to accuracy and attention to detail
• Ability to work with a diverse range of people
• Ability to work autonomously as well as part of a small team
• Good organisational and motivation skills

Further details
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