Postdoctoral Research Associate position in Molecular Microbial Ecology

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) is an independent research institute and scientific learned society carrying out leading-edge research in fundamental and strategic areas of marine biology.

We are looking for a highly motivated and independently working postdoctoral research scientist with interests in molecular microbial ecology. Applicants should have a PhD and a strong conceptual and practical background in the application of contemporary molecular microbial ecology techniques. The successful candidate will undertake research funded by NERC to use environmental DNA-based approaches (meta-barcoding and meta-genomics) to explore the structure and function of temperate coastal marine ecosystems.

Experience in the following areas will be an advantage:

  • Processing seawater and/or sediment samples for molecular (principally DNA) analysis;
  • Microbial community bioinformatics, including processing amplicon high-throughput sequencing data (e.g. via QIIME).

Recent examples of research from the group that relate to this post:

  • Taylor JD & Cunliffe M (2016) Multi-year assessment of coastal planktonic fungi reveals environmental drivers of diversity and abundance. The ISME Journal in press.
  • Taylor JD & Cunliffe M (2014) High-throughput sequencing reveals neustonic and planktonic protist diversity in coastal waters. Journal of Phycology 50: 960–965.
  • Taylor JD & Cunliffe M (2015) Polychaete burrows harbour distinct microbial communities in oil-contaminated coastal sediments. Environmental Microbiology Reports 7: 606–613.
  • Taylor JD, Cottingham SD, Billinge J & Cunliffe M (2014) Seasonal microbial community dynamics correlate with phytoplankton-derived polysaccharides in surface coastal waters. The ISME Journal 8: 245–248.

A positive attitude, willingness to collaborate and co-supervise postgraduate-level students within the group are essential. The role includes regular research cruises off Plymouth. Proficiency in spoken and written English is mandatory.

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The post is available for 28 months.

Informal enquiries are encouraged via Dr Michael Cunliffe (

Application process: Applicants for the position should send a CV (including brief description of research interests, background, previous employment and publication list), PDFs of your most important publications (up to three) and contact details for at least two references (letters of recommendation are optional) to (marked eDNA Postdoc).

The deadline for applications is 9th September 2016. Interviews will take place in late September.

The successful candidate would be expected to be in post as soon as possible.

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