Molecular Biologist

Reference OCMB042024
Start: As soon as possible from 01/06/2024


Ocean Census' mission is to accelerate the discovery of ocean life and catalyse its protection for future generations.


Ocean Census is actively seeking a molecular biologist to join our dynamic team to support the acceleration of species discovery working with and alongside an international alliance of partners.

START: As soon as possible from June 1, 2024
LOCATION: Oxford HQ and laboratories as well as on expeditions as required.
SALARY: Between £45,000 and £55,000.
CONTRACT: Fixed term ending March 31, 2026, with prospect of renewal thereafter.
REPORTING TO: Science Director
WORKING WITH: Science Director, Ocean Census taxonomists and Logistics Team. Also working with Ocean Census partner scientists



The molecular biologist will lead Ocean Census' DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, molecular systematics / phylogenetics and/ or taxo-genomic activities and research both in the field during expeditions and on shore at taxonomic workshops in partnership with the global network of Ocean Census partners.

At Ocean Census' central laboratory facilities in Oxford, the molecular biologist will be engaged in related research and advancing the initiative's sequencing programmes to accelerate species discovery.

We are particularly interested in candidates willing to develop third generation sequencing in the field using portable technologies and how to develop this as a pipeline for species discovery.

Candidates should be prepared to travel and be away from home for extended periods on expedition and / or leading taxonomic workshops (6-weeks maximum).

Field Research & Taxonomic Workshops

  • Lead and / or coordinate all related sequencing activities and research before, during and after expeditions and during taxonomic workshops including related to science planning, risk management and documentation and engagement and collaboration with partners.
  • Leading the coordination of sequencing of samples post field expeditions, often with a network of partners globally.
  • Participate in television, radio and other forms of interviews and to present at meetings at a wide range of levels including during expeditions and at shore-side events.
  • Responsible for development of third generation sequencing technologies for use in the field for molecular barcoding, genome skimming, UCEs and genome sequencing in support of species discovery and description.
  • Responsible for ensuring that all DNA sequencing work undertaken by Ocean Census is compliant with Nagoya and other national and international law and treaties.
  • Responsible for submission of DNA sequencing data to international databases for archiving purposes.
  • Responsible for developing protocols around tissue and specimen archiving for voucher specimens in collaboration with other organisations.

Research, data and curation

  • Responsible for development of DNA-sequencing approaches for Ocean Census to support species discovery.
  • Undertakes species discovery research anchored to molecular biology.
  • Works with data partners to ensure all Ocean Census sequence data is securely stored and equitably accessible.
  • Responsible for development of pipelines for input of DNA barcode sequences to Barcode of Life Data Systems and other appropriate DNA sequence databases.

Central HQ & Laboratory Management & Development

  • Responsible for laboratory management of molecular biology equipment including inventory, procurement (including chemicals) asset management and servicing along with the equipment deployment in mobile taxonomy and sequencing laboratories.
  • Works with the Science Director and to generate new ideas / approaches to accelerate species discovery.
  • Lead funding proposals in support of species discovery work using molecular approaches in coordination with the Science Director.
  • Present results arising from Ocean Census to scientists, policymakers and the public.


A confident, proactive, and independent self-starter able to work quickly, flexibly and responsively in a fast-changing environment.


  • Candidates should be passionate / enthusiastic molecular biologists.
  • Familiar with the use of DNA sequence editing software and molecular phylogenetics software and able to undertake advanced sequence quality control, alignment and phylogenetic analysis including on PCs/Macs or high-powered computer clusters.
  • Knowledge of Python or other programming languages relevant to molecular phylogenetics.
  • The candidate should have a strong track record of peer-reviewed scientific publications commensurate with experience and preferably in molecular phylogenetics, molecular taxonomy, barcoding or related fields.
  • A good first degree (B.Sc. or equivalent) and a Ph.D. with relevant postdoctoral experience.
  • Confident with Microsoft Excel, including formulas, lookups, and pivot tables.
  • IT literate with good knowledge of other Microsoft Office applications.
  • Able to work using their own initiative as well as being able to follow direction from the Science Director and members of the team.
  • Highly organised, and detail-oriented, with the ability to manage multiple areas of work.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to be confident and assertive in communicating with people at all levels as well as from different cultures, to build good working relationships across the organisation and with partners.
  • Experience of data management.
  • This role requires a high level of physical fitness due to the demands of expedition work and candidates will need to be able to pass an ENG1 seafarer medical fitness certificate.
  • Able to undertake remote fieldwork.


  • Experience in working with marine organisms including marine invertebrates.
  • A strong network of collaborative scientists in relevant areas of research.
  • Fieldwork experience in remote locations including on ships or in coastal localities.
  • Experience of working with logistics and insurance.
  • Dive qualifications especially Scientific Diving or HSEIV or equivalent.
  • Able to speak / read languages other than English.
  • Located in the Oxford area or able to locate there.
  • Valid UK driving license.
  • Experience in supervision of project students, trainees or in knowledge transfer to peers.

HOW TO APPLY: To apply for this position please send your CV with a cover letter explaining why you think you would be a good fit for this role to by May 19, 2024, quoting reference OCMB042024.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion and encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. This role is open to UK-based applicants only. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

posted: 25 April 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.