Marine Biologist- Rothera

Job reference:
BAS 22/26
Contract type:
Antarctic Contract
Up to 18 Months
£25,179 per annum. Additionally, upon completion of a successful tour, you will receive a bonus of up to 10%
We offer generous benefits
British Antarctic Survey
Antarctica- Rothera
Closing date:
31 March, 2022 11:59 pm


We are looking for a Marine Biologist to conduct investigations into the auto ecology of soft sediment animal assemblages in the Antarctic.

The position involves extensive SCUBA diving to study assemblage structure and quantify the ecological parameters: density, patchiness, growth and age at reproduction. We also want to further investigate the impact of iceberg disturbance on soft substratum assemblages. The project requires extensive use of light microscopy and laboratory techniques to identify species and gather the ecological information that will feed into ecosystem models of shallow water communities. This is a 10 year repeat sample with the aim of comparing assemblages through time, to identify any shift in ecological parameters, investigating drivers of this change. 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 a number of high quality scientific publications.

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 and 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. The assessment is done confidentially by our Medical Unit and the criteria might be subject to change.
  •  You will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, more details will be confirmed closer to your appointment date using the most recent guidance from the government and our medical unit.
  •  You might be required to quarantine two weeks before your deployment, and you might sail to Antarctica on our polar ship.

All applications will be checked 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.


  1. Within the Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptations team, this project will investigate the dynamics of sediment communities.
  2. To devise and conduct a sampling program, that will collect data for comparison with similar studies from 10 years ago. An air lift powered by compressed air cylinders will be developed to collect samples. The sampling will be designed to compare density, patchiness, growth, age at reproduction and the impact of iceberg disturbance on soft sediment assemblages in two local coves.
  3. Samples will be sorted from sediment, identified using light microscopy and carbon content of assemblages will be calculated.
  4. Sediment grain size and organic content will be measured through the sediment profile.
  5.  A grid will be setup to investigate the impact of iceberg disturbance and recovery on soft sediment assemblages.
  6.  Dissection of the size range of selected species will be used to investigate the size (and if possible age) at first reproduction.
  7.  Data analysis and modelling will be used to investigate any differences between decades and identify potential drivers of any difference

This position provides the 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 80 logged dives. Including 40 cold water dives (<12oC) / 25 drysuit dives).


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 SCUBA surveys of soft sediment assemblages
  • Knowledge of encrusting fauna, macroalgae and benthic communities
  • Stereo light-microscopy and use of keys to identify species
  • Good laboratory skills to measure and preserve individuals for taxonomy and measure carbon content
  •  Animal husbandry and photography skills to add to the library of ID photos
  • 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 for any queries: BAS 22/26
Publication date: 1 January 2022
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 31 March 2022
Interviews are scheduled to be held on: w/c 23 May 2022

At BAS, our vision is to be a world-leading centre for polar science and operations. Making our vision a reality depends on the excellence and diversity of our staff. We are committed to creating a workplace where all our staff can flourish and succeed. BAS is a Disability Confident employer, we are proud to hold a bronze Athena Swan award and we are a member of enei, the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion.

We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.

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

  • Data visualisation and statistical knowledge - Essential
  • Ecological modelling - Desirable [3]

Decision Making

  • Self management within the requirements of the wider team - Essential
  • Peer reviewed publication or report writing - Desirable [3]

Interpersonal skills

  • Ability to live and work within a small team at Rothera which integrates within a larger team in Cambridge - Essential
  • Enthusiasm to regularly report progress to wider team - Essential

Managerial ability

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

Numerical ability

  • Ability to handle complex data sets - Essential


  • BSc 2:1, minimum - Essential
  • Experienced SCUBA diver (CMAS 3* equivalent, minimum 80 logged dives. Including 40 cold water dives (<12oC) / 25 drysuit dives) - Essential
  • HSE SCUBA (part IV) or equivalent - Desirable [1]
  • Advanced European Scientific Diver - Desirable [1]
  • 100+ logged dives, including 50 cold water dives (<12°C) / 25 drysuit dives - 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 (use of keys for identification), microscope and laboratory skills - Essential
  • Small boat handling experience - Desirable [3]
  • Use of ROV - Desirable [3]
  • Underwater photography - Desirable [3]
  • Aquarium husbandry experience - Desirable [3]

In order to apply, please complete and upload all the application forms listed below. If you experience any issues in uploading your Application Form, please email us your complete application, making reference to the job reference and title.

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, please visit this website before applying.

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Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Recruitment team is working remotely and cannot access the building. If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, please contact us: [email protected]

If you need more information

[email protected]
+44 (0)1223 221400
+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.