Job Opening:

Molecular Ecology Postdoctoral Research Scholar

Smithsonian MarineGEO


Salary: $60,129

Location: Edgewater, Maryland, USA; negotiable

Duration: 1 year, with possible extension

Application Closes: September 30, 2021


The Smithsonian Institution’s MarineGEO program seeks a motivated, independent postdoctoral research scholar to join our team. MarineGEO is a global network of partners using a standard toolkit of observations and coordinated experiments to understand how biodiversity and ecosystem health are changing in coastal marine ecosystems as they face the pressures of global change.

The MarineGEO PANELS (Photogrammetry And Next-gen sequencing for EcologicaL Systems) project is a coordinated experiment involving 17 sites mostly spanning both coasts of North America. The purpose is to understand (1) factors driving the assembly of benthic communities that colonize standardized PVC settling tiles, and (2) how the communities’ diversity and identity relate to 3-dimensional complexity. To answer these questions, we are leveraging emerging technologies, including the application of environmental DNA (eDNA), to more fully characterize the diversity of the fouling community. More details can be found at:

The Scholar will lead curation, analysis, and interpretation of existing genetic data and other outputs provided by a sequencing facility and connect them back to the experimental results. The successful candidate will contribute one or more first-authored manuscripts and support the project team in preparing other manuscripts.

Relevant questions for the Scholar’s work include, but are not limited to:

  • How are taxonomic and genetic diversity related?
  • To what degree does community structure measured by genetic methods overlap with that from traditional visual assessments?
  • How do different dimensions of community biodiversity, including taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic, develop through time, and how are they related to biological complexity?
  • What is the utility of eDNA for identifying invasive species, and how do they affect the experimental results?



  • Ph.D. in genetics/genomics, marine sciences, or a related field, with expertise in applying genomics, metabarcoding, eDNA, or other sequence-based approaches to ecological or biodiversity research
  • Record of peer-reviewed publications
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with an interdisciplinary and international team


Desired Experience (at least some of the following):

  • Concentration or experience in marine ecosystems and/or community ecology
  • Experience analyzing eDNA or metabarcoding sequence data across broad taxa
  • Strong publication record


MarineGEO values diversity in all forms, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center community recognizes the value of diversity in promoting innovative science and creative solutions. We recognize each applicant will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and backgrounds to this position. We encourage persons from any historically underrepresented group in environmental and data sciences to apply. The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital/parental/caregiver status, and disability.

The position will be based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD. While on-site presence is preferred when possible, remote work may be considered. The Scholar will work closely with MarineGEO staff and project leaders at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, FL and the National Museum of National History in Washington, DC.

This position is Smithsonian Trust employment and offers paid leave, health, vision, dental, and other benefits. Proof of authorization to work in the U.S. is required. This is not a federal position.


To Apply:

Please submit a single PDF including a one-page cover letter and a curriculum vitae (CV) to with the subject line “MarineGEO PANELS Postdoc” by September 30, 2021.

To learn more about MarineGEO, please visit: To learn more about the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland, please visit: