Postdoctoral Researcher in Harmful Algal Blooms and ‘Maine-eDNA’

East Boothbay, ME   |   Full Time


Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is seeking a postdoctoral research associate to study the ecology and dynamics of harmful algal bloom (HAB) species in Maine’s marine and freshwater habitats along the coast of Maine. The work will utilize environmental DNA (eDNA) based detection of HAB species, blended with geospatial, toxin, and biogeochemical data, to reveal the role of environmental factors in the process of HAB formation and recovery to pre-bloom conditions. Research questions will address the diversity, distribution, and abundance of HABs, their ecological linkages within microbial networks, and their impacts on the diversity and composition of the plankton community. Broader goals include utilizing these data to investigate the susceptibility (or resilience) of aquatic ecosystems to HAB development with the ultimate goal of developing better forecasting models for HAB outbreaks. This position will provide opportunities for the postdoctoral researcher to collaborate with a diverse array of Maine-eDNA colleagues on the analysis of ‘big data’ via bioinformatics, machine learning and ecosystem modeling. It is expected that the postdoctoral researcher will facilitate linkages among several other eDNA-based research projects at Bigelow Laboratory by serving as a source of knowledge and expertise on eDNA-related topics. The successful candidate will contribute to outreach and training efforts for stakeholder groups and citizen scientists on the topics of eDNA and HABs.

Position Details

The postdoctoral researcher will conduct all aspects of research in support of the Maine-eDNA Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) project in coordination with the primary postdoctoral supervisor. Ability to follow project protocols as well as develop innovative solutions for the analysis of eDNA is required. It is expected that there will be numerous opportunities for the postdoctoral researcher to develop, lead and co-author manuscripts for publication in the primary research literature. The successful candidate will play a key role in communicating the science of Maine-eDNA at regional and national meetings.

The postdoctoral researcher may share supervisory responsibilities with Maine-eDNA project leaders for volunteers, interns, undergraduate researchers over the course of the appointment. Close collaboration with Maine-eDNA graduate students will be encouraged.

This position requires the successful candidate to work periodically from small boats on Maine’s coastal waters and lakes. Such work may include lifting and moving heavy field gear and samples. Fieldwork and related activities may require occasional work past normal business hours.

Maine-eDNA is a multi-institutional project that aims to advance both ecological understanding of coastal macrosystems and the inference capacities of environmental DNA (eDNA) science needed to translate knowledge into action. Please see for more information.


  • PhD in Biological Oceanography, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, Phycology, or a related field
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of quantitative PCR (qPCR), DNA metabarcoding, and bioinformatics pipelines to interpret metabarcode data (e.g., mothur, QIIME, dada2)
  • Experience with DNA and/or RNA extraction techniques as well as designing and testing oligonucleotide primers for use in qPCR and/or metabarcoding is highly desirable
  • Specialized computational skills including knowledge of R and/or Python will be considered
  • Familiarity with algal isolation, cultivation, and maintenance techniques 


Please submit a cover letter and CV using the "Apply Now" button above. Screening of candidates will begin immediately and applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. The successful candidate will be brought on to work as soon as possible.

About Midcoast Maine

Bigelow Laboratory’s state-of-the-art oceanfront campus in East Boothbay is located in scenic Midcoast Maine, perfectly situated to provide access to the very best Maine has to offer. Within a reasonable commuting distance of most major Maine cities, this mid-coast peninsula offers the perfect balance between small town coastal charm and urban accessibility. Our peninsula is home to fishermen and sea captains, marine biologists, nature lovers, botanists and gardeners, artists, merchants, and entrepreneurs. Many non-profit organizations call this region home and work hard to further their missions in support of the arts, seamanship and marine education, conservation, historic preservation, and more. Learn more about the Boothbay Harbor Region here.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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