Electronic / Mechanical Engineer - Seafloor Seismology

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Can seismic data mules protect us from the next big one? Researchers look to new seafloor earthquake detection systems for better detection and warning of seismic risk.

Looking to join a group committed to advancing the performance and reliability of OBS in order to support discovery of the earth’s internal structure and its dynamic processes such as earthquake faulting and volcanism. Advances in datalogger performance, autonomous timing, acoustic and optical telemetry, and the availability of new low-power, low-noise seismic sensors provide the opportunity to design a new generation of OBS with greater capability and longer recording durations.


The Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrument Center (OBSIC) (https://obsic.whoi.edu) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution seeks to hire a full-time, junior electronics / mechanical engineer in the OBSIC lab. OBSIC provides Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBS), and the technical support to operate them, to the academic research community. Under the supervision of senior OBSIC staff, participate in the design, maintenance, and operation of Ocean-Bottom Seismographs (OBS) and related support equipment. Assist in mobilizing/demobilizing sea-going seismic experiments.  Participate in sea-going experiments for up to 3 months per year. Example of cruises to Antartica, Galapagos Island and others. 


This is a regular, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for benefits. The internal working title for this position could be either Engineer I, Engineer II, or Research Engineer. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience. This role is a on-site role.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities


Seeking an engineer with background, and/or enthusiasm for learning, in the following areas:

  • Assembly & maintenance of seafloor seismographs 
  • Deployment & Rocovery of seafloor seismographs 
  • Analog, digital, and power circuit design
  • PCB design, layout, fabrication, and testing processes
  • Debugging and testing, both in the lab and in the field
  • Low-power, low-noise analog systems.
  • System integration
  • Serial and Ethernet communication
  • Experience writing embedded code in C/C++
  • CAD based design / usage of DunkWorks 
  • Design and modification of level system for a new sismotoer

Desired Experience:Cadence Allegro/OrCAD Capture and PCB EditorFamiliarity and comfort with Linux OS, embedded systems software, and use of scripting languages (bash, Python, MATLAB, JavaScript)Some familiarity with embedded microcontrollers


Engineer I: 

  • This is an entry level position designed to encourage the connection and application of academic training to results-oriented projects in support of scientific and research activities. As the initial position on the Technical Staff, an Engineer I is not expected to remain at this level for more than 1-2 years.

Engineer II: 

  • With some supervision to achieve assigned objectives, identifies and participates in engineering projects in support of scientific and research activities through the demonstration of one or more specialized skills. Will be expected to work on tasks requiring creativity and independent thinking, along with a proven understanding of fundamental research and engineering principles. 



  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

Engineer I: 

  • Engineering degree or other appropriate discipline with minimal work experience, or in the absence of a formal degree, evidence of an established, specialized engineering skill gained through experience.

Engineer II: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering or appropriate field with relevant experience, or in the absence of a formal degree, evidence of an established, specialized engineering skill gained through considerable experience

Physical Requirements


Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

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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