Postdoctoral Investigator - Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for one Postdoctoral Investigator to join the Marine Animal Remote Sensing Lab ( in the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering (AOPE) Department.  This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for full benefits. The initial appointment will be for 24 months and begins in summer 2021 with the possibility to extend based on available funding.


Within this project, the Postdoctoral Investigator will participate in the development and evaluation of an instrument to conduct autonomous line transect distance sampling surveys of whale populations in the north-east Atlantic Ocean. The instrument is based on an existing thermal imaging-based whale detection system.  Research will be field focused and extended stays at sea will be required.

The Institution has a top-rated postdoctoral program ( that supports a dynamic postdoctoral community with formal mentoring and career guidance programs. While the primary focus of the work will be in research, the Postdoctoral Investigator will have the opportunity to participate in educational and outreach activities associated with the project, and will have the opportunity to expand the areas of research through co-authoring proposals. 

Online application forms should be submitted with a cover letter describing research interests and career goals, a complete curriculum vitae, up to three relevant publications, and the contact information of at least three references. 


Application review will be begin immediately and will continue through June 30, 2021 (or until the position has been filled).

Essential Functions

  • Implement a multi-camera vessel-based whale detection and identification system.
  • Evaluate performance of the system at sea 
  • Write peer-reviewed publications and present research results at national and international scientific meetings.

Education & Experience

  • PhD. in engineering, physics or a related field is required.
  • Less than 3 years of postdoctoral experience is required.
  • Proficiency in Linux and Python are required.
  • Previous experience with control systems, computer vision, robotics and navigation is advantageous.

Special Requirements

  • Must be willing to spend extensive amounts of time at sea over a six month period.
  • Must have valid driver's license.

Physical Requirements

No pre-determined physical requirements; all candidates should be encouraged to apply.

Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.


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