Marine Biologist

Job reference: BAS 21/26
Contract type: Antarctic Contract
Duration: Winter (18 Months)
Salary: £24,685 per annum initially. Additionally, upon completion of a successful tour, you will receive a bonus of up to 10%.
Benefits: We offer generous benefits
Team: Antarctic employment pool team
Location: Antarctica (Rothera)
Closing date: 31 March, 2021 11:59 pm
Publication Date: 8 January


We are looking for a Marine Biologist to conduct investigations into early life history stages of nearshore marine communities to understand how recruitment dynamics are being affected by changes in the Southern Ocean surrounding Rothera Research Station, West Antarctic Peninsula. Wintering at Rothera Research Station, you will be responsible for developing and implementing a research programme to conduct ecological surveys of early life history stages. The role will involve developing projects within 3 broad areas, 1) year round, depth stratified plankton surveys 2) taxonomic identification of larvae and settled juveniles and 3) marine larval husbandry. This will involve: plankton sampling by SCUBA diving or from small boats; deploying settlement panels by SCUBA diving or ROV to study recruitment; and studying embryo and larval development in the aquarium facilities. Other duties include specimen collection, aquarium husbandry, preservation of samples, data analysis and preparation of data for manuscript publication.

Who we are

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Our skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through our extensive logistic capability and know how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. British Antarctic Survey is a component of the?Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).?NERC?is part of UK Research and Innovation

We employ experts from many different professions to carry out our Science as well as keep the keep the lights on, feed the research and support teams and keep everyone safe! If you are looking for an opportunity to work with amazing people in one of the most unique places in the world, then British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for those jobs.

COVID-19 update

  • We have a responsibility to do everything that we can to ensure that BAS Ships and Stations remain COVID free and that staff are deployed safely and responsibly. Our medical screening for this season will therefore take account of the recognised factors that increase your risk of an adverse reaction to the coronavirus (Primarily this is BMI at or above 30, age over 60 years old, or a history of smoking). The assessment is done confidentially by our Medical Unit and the criteria might be subject to change.
  • You might be required to quarantine two weeks prior to your deployment, and you might sail to Antarctica on our polar ship.

All applications will be checked at point of application by BAS staff and those without the right to work in the UK or without a realistic prospect of being able to acquire the right to work in the UK will not progress.

Please read the Applicants guide here before submitting your application.


Within the Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptations team, this project will investigate the dynamics of early life history stages.

  1. A sampling program will be devised to take depth stratified plankton tows from which larvae will be identified to monitor seasonal occurrence and development patterns. Larvae that cannot be identified will be preserved for molecular identification. The research program will be developed to allow comparison with previous larval studies conducted 20 years ago.
  2. Settlement panels will be deployed by SCUBA divers, or ROV, to investigate the impact of iceberg disturbance on recruitment patterns. The settlement panel studies are a component of a 20 year program of research investigating the impact of iceberg disturbance on benthic community ecology. Data from 3 sets of panels deployed for short periods (1-3 years) and one long term dataset (8 years) are available for comparison.
  3. Selected larvae will be maintained in the aquarium facility in order to monitor and describe development.

There is also an opportunity to work with experienced members of the team to direct the scope of investigations. The position involves year round SCUBA diving from small boats and through sea ice, use of a range of laboratory techniques to identify species and gather the ecological information that will feed into long term studies of shallow water communities in this region. The post involves a minimum of 1.5 years (that can be extended to 2.5 years) at the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station, Antarctica and is expected to result in high quality scientific publications. The post holder will be expected to play a role in planning, organisation, and implementation of this research programme whilst also supporting a diverse range of other marine science projects, and station activities, particularly during the summer months. In addition, as a member of a small wintering team (~20 personnel) you will be expected to take a share of station duties (cooking, cleaning, night watch etc).


  • BSc 2:1, minimum
  • Experienced SCUBA diver (CMAS 3* equivalent, minimum 100 logged dives (30 cold water – preferably dry suit dives). Capable of passing HSE commercial diving course before deployment to Antarctica
  • HSE SCUBA (part IV) or equivalent
  • Advanced European Scientific Diver


To organise and implement the proposed research programme, which be selected from the following research areas depending on the logistics and the successful candidate’s expertise:

  • Year-round larval surveys using SCUBA or boat towed plankton nets
  • Stereo light-microscopy and use of keys to identify species
  • Knowledge of encrusting fauna and benthic communities
  • Animal husbandry and photography skills to document encrusting communities and describe larval development
  • Good laboratory skills to measure and preserve larvae and early recruits for a range of analyses
  • Analyse data and prepare for publication
  • Help to prepare manuscripts for publication

To play an active role as a member of the marine team, supporting a diverse range of marine projects.

  • This will include recompression chamber, boating, diving and search and recovery duties.

Due to the remote location in the Antarctic strong organisational and interpersonal skills are required for this post

Please quote reference: BAS 21/26
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 31 March 2021
Interviews are scheduled to be held: 10 June 2021

As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome.

posted: 02 March 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.