Marine Biologist

Job reference:
BAS 20/14
Contract type:
Antarctic Contract (Up to 19 Months with a possibility of extension for a further 12 months). Dependent on circumstances, a limited amount of Antarctic write up time may sometimes be available.
£24,272 per annum initially. 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, 2020 11:59 pm


British Antarctic Survey is offering a unique opportunity as a Marine Biologist in Antarctica.

What is about?

We are looking for a Marine Biologist to investigate growth and seasonality in nearshore benthic communities and how this is being altered by changes in the Southern Ocean surrounding Rothera Research station, West Antarctic Peninsula.
Based in Rothera, you will organising and implementing the research programme involving ecological surveys by SCUBA divers of growth rates in the field and laboratory studies of seasonal ecology and physiology. The role will involve developing methods to measure growth rate of species in-situ. Other duties include specimen collection and identification, aquarium based quantification of feeding and physiological rates, preservation of 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.

Who are we?

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its 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 its 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 to 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 amazing places then British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for those jobs.


Within the Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptations team, this project will investigate the growth and seasonal ecology of key benthic species. This will involve SCUBA based surveys to measure growth in the wild. The role will develop methodologies, so that individuals can be relocated and growth rates of a range of animals with and without skeletons can be measured in the field. This will be conducted alongside studies of their feeding ecology to begin to better understand diet and therefore links in the food chain. 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 CMAS 3* diver, 80 logged dives (30 cold water and/or dry suit dives) but extra cold water diving experience will be viewed favourably. An HSE commercial diving qualification is desirable, benthic marine biology (use of keys for identification), microscope, aquarium and laboratory skills


To organise and implement the proposed research programme, which involves:

  • Year-round ecological and physiological measurements through SCUBA diving.
  • Underwater measurements and photography to measure growth rates
  • Animal husbandry and manipulation skills to investigate environmental impacts on feeding ecology and physiology.
  • Stereo light-microscopy and use of keys to identify species
  • Good laboratory skills to measure ecological information
  • 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.

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

Please quote the following reference for any queries: BAS 20/14
Closing date for receipt of applications form is: 31st March 2020
Interviews are scheduled to be held on: 26th June 2020

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.

Antarctic deployment involves working in a remote and harsh environment where adaptations to working, living and recreation areas are not achievable to a level that might be expected in the UK. There is a Genuine Occupational Requirement to be physically capable of negotiating rough, icy and snowy terrain as well as being mentally resilient and medically fit.

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


  • BSc 2:1, minimum - Essential
  • Experienced diver (CMAS 3*, minimum 80 logged dives (30 cold water and/or dry suit dives). 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]

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.