Postdoctoral Investigator - Geology & Geophysics

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is searching for a Postdoctoral Investigator to join our multidisciplinary coral reef research team. This is a regular full-time, exempt position, eligible for full benefits. The appointment is for 15 months with the possibility of an extension based on performance and availability of funding.


Research in the Cohen Lab at WHO ( focuses on climate change and its impact on coral reef ecosystems. We work across broad spatial and temporal scales, and employ a diverse toolkit of analytical techniques, using both field observations and experiments, and laboratory-based manipulation experiments. We work across disciplines and collaborate widely to draw on the hydrodynamic, biogeochemical, ecological and physiological expertise needed to address the most critical questions. We collaborate closely with conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, local NGOs and governments of coral reef island nations to maximize the science-to-action potential of our research. We invest significant effort in outreach and communication to the general public, K-12, teachers, the United Nations, the US congress.


We’re seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral scientist with expertise in tropical, shallow water coral reef ecology, coral physiology and/or genetics to contribute to two new efforts, one a traditional research project and the other a non-traditional Convergence Accelerator. The research project merges expertise in physical oceanography, hydrodynamics, coral reef ecology and coral physiology to investigate the biophysics of coral reef resilience in the central equatorial Pacific. The Convergence Accelerator is a collaboration between academic scientists, industry and conservation organizations to build the first Coral Reef Digital Twin. We especially encourage applicants with a willingness and ability to think outside of the box extensive coral reef field experience and AAUS certification or equivalent, a willingness to sail to remote coral reef islands and an exceptional ability to work collaboratively and generously.


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. We strongly encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply and contribute to our efforts to increase equity and inclusion in ocean science.


Online applications should be submitted, via the appropriate fields, with a cover letter, complete curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation. Applications will be reviewed upon submission. Informal inquiries may be made by email to Dr. Cohen (

Essential Functions

The successful candidate will

  • Conduct scientific research and work with team to design and conduct fieldwork;
  • Generate, analyze and interpret data;
  • Publish peer reviewed papers;
  • Present work at meetings and conferences;
  • Communication of science beyond academia;
  • Contribute to proposal design and writing;
  • Collaborate with academic organizations, industrial and NGO partners;
  • Participate in workshops with non-academic


Education & Experience


  • Ph.D in coral reef ecology and/or coral ecophysiology and/or coral genetics
  • Strong publication record
  • Extensive field experience and AAUS or equivalent dive certification
  • Willingness to go to sea for extended periods, sometimes to remote places
  • Ability to work collaboratively.
  • Excellent communication skills



  • Strong computational/quantitative skills
  • Experience in the laboratory
  • An interest in oceanography/hydrodynamics/climate of coral reef systems


Special Requirements

Willingness and ability to travel, sometimes to remote places.

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs. independently and carry 10-25 lbs. Visual abilities to include depth perception and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions. Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic/fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

Sea duty is likely.


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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