Reference OCT042024


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


Ocean Census is actively seeking two taxonomists to join our dynamic team to lead and coordinate the discovery of ocean life with an international alliance of partners.

TAXONOMIST 1 START: As soon as possible from June 1, 2024
TAXONOMIST 2 START: October 1, 2024
LOCATION: Oxford HQ and laboratories as well as on expeditions as required.
SALARY: Between £45,000 and £52,500.
CONTRACT: Fixed term ending March 31, 2026, with prospect of renewal thereafter.
REPORTING TO: Science Director
WORKING WITH: Science Director, Ocean Census taxonomists. Molecular biologists and Logistics Team. Also working with Ocean Census partner scientists.



The taxonomists coordinate the international species discovery programme of Ocean Census, participating and at times leading field expeditions and taxonomy workshops with partners internationally. At Ocean Census' central laboratory facilities in Oxford, the taxonomists are engaged in taxonomic research, expedition and workshop planning and implementation, advancing technology programmes to accelerate species discovery and laboratory management.

The opportunities are for experienced taxonomist who specialises in a particular marine taxon or group of taxa. Experience should include a strong publication record.

The responsibilities and tasks will be shared by the two taxonomists depending on the respective skills and expertise of the candidates. 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 the taxonomic research during expeditions and at taxonomic workshops undertaken by Ocean Census and partners internationally including responsible for species collection, sorting, discovery, preservation, digitisation and description to a level commensurate with publication.
  • Lead and / or coordinate science planning, risk management and documentation for expedition and taxonomic workshops notably including writing science plans, science permit applications, selection of participating taxonomists and engagement and collaboration with a global network of international collaborating partners.
  • 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.

Research, data and curation

  • Undertakes species discovery research including related to the taxonomist's specialist area of expertise.
  • Leads the curation of Ocean Census samples ensuring they are archived indefinitely in curated collections by partners.
  • Works with data partners to ensure all Ocean Census biodiversity data is securely stored and equitably accessible.

Central HQ & Laboratory Management & Development

  • Responsible for Ocean Census species collection, sorting, discovery, preservation, digitisation and description (to a level commensurate with publication).
  • Responsible for laboratory management including managing science equipment (including inventory, procurement (including chemicals) asset management and servicing.
  • Responsible for management of the mobile containerised laboratories including certifications / permits / licensing and support with shipping logistics and permitting.
  • Works with the Science Director and to generate new ideas / approaches to accelerate species discovery (including related to high-resolution imaging, DNA sequencing and other approaches).
  • Lead funding proposals to expand the taxonomic goals of Ocean Census in coordination with the Science Director.
  • Financial management of Ocean Census science activities including expeditions, taxonomic workshops, laboratory management and research in coordination with the Science Director.


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


  • Candidates must be a passionate / enthusiastic taxonomists working on marine organisms.
  • Should have a good degree in a relevant subject (B.Sc. or equivalent) and Ph.D. as well as relevant postdoctoral experience.
  • Should have an excellent track record of relevant peer-reviewed publications given career stage.
  • Should be capable of undertaking integrated taxonomy using morphological and molecular approaches.
  • Should have experience of molecular phylogenetics / taxonomy including use of appropriate programming languages (e.g. Python).
  • 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 and from different cultures, in order to build good working relationships across the organisation and with partners.
  • Should be able to manage budgeting and projects related to own activities and those under line management.
  • 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.


  • A strong network of collaborative scientists in relevant areas of research.
  • Fieldwork experience in remote locations including on ships or in coastal localities.
  • Dive qualifications especially Scientific Diving or HSEIV or equivalent.
  • Experience of working with logistics and insurance.
  • 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 OCT042024.

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.