Marine Biologist – Antarctica

Job reference:
BAS 11/19
Contract type:
Antarctic Contract
Antarctic Winter (Approx. 19 months with possibility of extension)
£23,937 per annum initially. Additionally, upon completion of a successful tour, you will receive a 10% bonus.
We offer generous benefits
Antarctic employment pool team
Closing date:
31 March, 2019 11:59 pm


We are looking for a Marine Biologist to investigate seasonality in nearshore benthos and how this is being altered by changes in the Ryder Bay environment (adjacent to the Rothera Research station, West Antarctic Peninsula).

Based in Rothera, you will organising and implementing the research programme involving ecological surveys by SCUBA divers of the feeding activity, specimen collection, aquarium based quantification of feeding and physiological rates, preserving samples, data analysis and preparation of data for manuscript publication.

This is an exciting opportunity for a highly-motivated individual with relevant experience and a keen interest in marine biology to join a small Rothera-based team in organising and implementing a unique research programme.


Within the Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptations team, this project will investigate the seasonal feeding ecology of benthic species and compare this with similar data collected 20 years ago. This will involve bi-weekly SCUBA diving based surveys to investigate how seasonal and inter-annual fluctuations in the environment of Ryder Bay are reflected in the feeding ecology of key benthic species and ultimately energy flow to the sea-floor. Growth and other seasonal physiological metrics will be measured.
These surveys will aim to correlate aspects of the environment, which has a very stable thermal regime but highly variable photoperiod, salinity, pH and primary productivity, on species feeding ecology. Ryder Bay sits in the seasonal sea-ice zone and the well documented changes in sea-ice duration are expected to alter energy transfer into and out of the ocean.
The project will also study the auto-ecology of marine invertebrates in the marine aquarium facilities at Rothera with the potential to manipulate the environment and study effects of these parameters on feeding ecology and physiology. There is also an opportunity to work with experienced members of the team to broaden the scope of investigations.
The position involves extensive SCUBA diving, 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 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 marine science projects, and base activities, particularly during the summer months.


BSc 2:1, minimum, Experienced diver (minimum 80 logged dives (30 cold water and/or dry suit dives) but extra cold water diving experience will be viewed favourably. Capable of passing HSE commercial diving course before deployment to Antarctica, Benthic marine biology (use of keys for identification), microscope, aquarium and laboratory skills.


- To organise and implement the proposed research programme, which involves:
1. Year-round ecological and physiological measurements through SCUBA diving.
2. Underwater photography to assess feeding rates.
3. Animal husbandry and manipulation skills to investigate environmental impacts on feeding ecology and physiology.
4. Stereo light-microscopy and use of keys to identify species.
5. Good laboratory skills to measure ecological information.
6. Analyse data and prepare for publication.
7. Help to prepare manuscripts for publication.
8. To play an active role as a member of the marine team, being involved in a diverse range of marine projects.

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

On-line application forms and further information are available on our website at

These are also available from the Human Resources Section, British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET. Tel: (01223) 221508.

Please quote reference: BAS 11/19

Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 31st March 2019
Interview date: 21st June 2019
Proposed start date: Summer 2019

BAS is an Equal Opportunity employer. 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. We operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the job. We are open to a range of flexible working options including part-time or full-time employment as well as flexible hours due to caring or other commitments.

You will need to be physically capable and medically fit to work in Antarctic conditions.

Skills are listed as either Essential or Desirable. Desirable skills importance rating in parenthesis (1 is high, 5 is low)

Communication skills - a) oral skills b) written skills

  • Fluent in written and spoken English language - Essential

Computer / IT skills

  • Word processing, spreadsheet literate. - Essential

Decision Making

  • Self management within the requirements of the wider team. - Essential
  • Report writing. - Desirable [3]

Interpersonal skills

  • Ability to live and work within a small team at Rothera which fits within a larger team in Cambridge. - Essential

Managerial ability

  • Self manage within the framework of a dynamic team. - Essential

Numerical ability

  • Ability to handle complex data sets. - Essential

Other Factors

  • Physically capable and medically fit to work in Antarctic conditions. - Essential


  • BSc 2:1, minimum. - Essential
  • Experienced diver (minimum 80 logged dives - 30 cold water and/or dry suit dives). - Essential
  • Capable of passing HSE commercial diving course before deployment to Antarctica. - Essential
  • Benthic marine biology (use of keys for identification), microscope and laboratory skills. - Essential
  • HSE SCUBA (part IV) or Advanced European Scientific Diver or sport equivalent (BSAC advanced diver, PADI divemaster). - Desirable [1]

Resource Management ability

  • Ability to plan up to a year ahead to fit with schedules. - Essential
  • Flexible approach to problem solving. - Essential

Skills / Experience

  • Marine Biology/Biology. - Essential
  • Small boat handling experience. - Desirable [3]
  • Data visualisation and statistics knowledge. - Desirable [3]
  • Experience of working in field with marine benthic communities. - Desirable [3]
  • Experience of animal husbandry and maintenance of controlled aquarium conditions. - Desirable [3]
  • Proof of drysuit dives, full facemask experience. - Desirable [2]
  • Experience of underwater photography. - Desirable [2]
  • Sigmaplot, Minitab , PRIMER or similar software experience. - Desirable [4]
  • General ecology experience. - Desirable [3]
  • Experience of remote environments. - Desirable [3]

You can apply for this job online or you can print off the application forms, fill them out by hand and mail them.

Apply Online:

Apply by post:

If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, you can print the application form(s) and post it back to us.

Please ensure you complete all required sections of the application form(s) and include a Cover Letter and a copy of your CV.

When posting your application, ensure there is sufficient postage.

These forms are in an OpenDocument format and may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. An accessible format may be requested by contacting us.

Send your completed application forms to:
Human Resources Team
British Antarctic Survey
High Cross, Madingley Road
United Kingdom

If you need more information

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 221400
Facsimile: +44 (0)1223 362616

The information you provide during the application process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application, to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements where necessary or, in the case of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire, to help BAS meet its equal opportunities policy.

The British Antarctic Survey will not share the information you provide with any third parties, and the information will be held securely by the British Antarctic Survey whether the information is in electronic or physical format. Please note that the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire will be detached from your application prior to the short-listing of candidates for interview.

Unsuccessful applications will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end of the recruitment process (or 1 year after the end of the recruitment process in the case of Marine Staff and AEP. The applications of successful applicants will be retained as part of their personnel file.

Further information can be found in the information notice of NERC, our parent body.