Postdoc Position – Biodiversity of the CCZ, University of Hawaii

[From the INDEEP mailing list]

Two-Year Postdoctoral Position at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in studies of biodiversity, connectivity and ecosystem function in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone

Project Overview

The postdoctoral scholar will work in the laboratory of Dr. Craig R. Smith within a project titled:

Ecosystem-wide survey of biodiversity, connectivity and ecosystem function across the deep seafloor biome of the CCZ to help assess and manage the impacts of polymetallic nodule mining, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This is an international study designed to survey and synthesize biological diversity and ecosystem function across the abyssal CCZ region targeted form manganese nodule mining (project PIs: Craig R. Smith, Jeffrey Drazen, Matthew Church, Thomas Dahlgren, Adrian Glover and Andrew Sweetman).

The project involves field studies of biodiversity and ecosystem function on abyssal plains and seamounts in the western Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), particularly in areas protected from mining (APEIs) by the International Seabed Authority. The field program will involve a major oceanographic research cruise to intensively study key abyssal-floor and seamount benthic biotic components, including ROV based surveys and collections to assess biodiversity and community structure of epibenthic megafauna (especially the nodule fauna), baited-camera studies of mobile scavenger assemblages, and lander-based studies of microbial diversity, demersal zooplankton, sediment-community respiration, and sediment food-web structure. Study sites will (a) include areas of high to low predicted manganese-nodule abundance, (b) span a range of moderate to low export flux (i.e., predicted seafloor food availability) within the CCZ, and (c) include unsampled areas designed, based on environmental indicators, to be representative of exploration claims at the western end of the CCZ. The research cruise will be followed by 1.5 years of sample and data analyses and preparation of publications. Approximately 1.5 year after the cruise, a data integration workshop will be convened with mining contractors and other scientists who have collected similar data within the CCZ to generate a broad synthesis of biodiversity, species ranges, ecological connectivity and ecosystem function across the CCZ, with special emphasis in evaluating the potential efficacy of the existing network of APEIs (a representative areas protected from mining) established by the ISA.

Postdoctoral Opportunities and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will:

Lead data collection, analyses, and authorship of publications for studies of abyssal megafaunal community structure and biodiversity using ROV imaging (video and still) and animal collections.

Lead in interactions and sample exchange with international taxonomic experts to assist in megafaunal identifications.

Assemble and publish an image atlas of megafaunal morphotypes identified during the project.

Contribute to data synthesis and analyses across the project, conducting community and diversity analyses with statistical software, including univariate and multivariate statistical approaches (e.g., using Primer, Biodiversity Pro, R).

Help in project coordination, planning, and logistics, particularly for the CCZ data-synthesis workshop.

Participate in the data integration workshop to help generate a broad synthesis of biodiversity, species ranges, ecological connectivity and ecosystem function across the CCZ.

Author/co-author project reports and scientific papers, and present scientific results at project meetings and international scientific conferences/workshops.

Assist in public outreach concerning the project.

Minimum Qualifications

PhD degree in Biological Oceanography, Marine Biology, or a closely related scientific discipline.

Ocean-going experience onboard scientific research vessels, including prior involvement in deep- sea research expeditions.

Demonstrated ability to work with ROV and/or other oceanographic imaging equipment, and knowledge of sample processing and analyses while at sea.

Demonstrated ability to understand oral and written documentation, write reports, lead authorship of peer-reviewed scientific papers, and communicate effectively in a range of professional and public situations.

A track record of publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Stipend and Duration of Position

The stipend will be commensurate with qualifications and experience, and is expected to be in the range of $66,000 – $70,000 US per year. The position will be funded on an annual basis for at least two years, based on acceptable performance. The successful candidate will be expected to make a 2-yr commitment.


Apply by April 15, 2017 by submitting curriculum vitae and a statement of research interests, experience, and career goals by email to Craig R. Smith, Moore Project Principle Investigator ( Please provide the name, email address and phone number for three professional references. Appointment will begin on approximately 1 October, 2017. In addition, to allow quick tracking of applications, please put in the subject line of the application email: “Moore Megafaunal Postdoctoral Application”

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