Postdoctoral Researcher, Falklands Marine Forest Habitats


Job description and person specification

1. Summary Information

Job Title:

Postdoctoral Researcher, Falklands Marine Forest Habitats


Life Sciences

Contract Type:

Fixed term, 18 months

Pay Band:

PDRA Junior


£32,825 per annum plus benefits


South Kensington


41 hours per week (including one hour paid lunchbreak)

Application Close Date:

9am on Wednesday 12 July 2017

Interviews expected:

End of July 2017

2. Role Summary

We are seeking a project officer for 18 months. The project presents an unusual and exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and well-qualified person. This project is focussed around documenting seaweed diversity and training in seaweed identification in the Falklands and is in collaboration with the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) based in Stanley, Falkland Islands. SAERI is an academic organisation conducting research in the South Atlantic from the tropics down to the ice in Antarctica. SAERI's remit includes the natural and physical sciences. It aims to conduct world class research, teach students, and build capacity within and between the South Atlantic Overseas Territories.

Kelp forests provide spawning grounds for the Falklands squid fishery, and are a major habitat for red listed cetaceans. However, they are potentially threatened by offshore oil exploration, invasive species and climate change. Falkland’s seaweeds are not well inventoried, yet this knowledge is a critical for their Biodiversity Framework. The aim of the project is to provide tools to enable environmental management through habitat monitoring by filling a major gap in baseline knowledge of seaweed biodiversity, populating local information systems and providing training in species identification.

The role of the project officer will be to:

  • make collections to fill gaps in the Falklands collections,
  • database all seaweed specimens,
  • identify species using molecular approaches,
  • document species distributions/habitats through GIS maps,
  • develop an illustrated guide to the common seaweeds of the Falklands. 

This will include at least one fieldtrip to the Falklands. There will also be opportunities for outreach initiatives. The project officer will also be responsible for the day to day management of the project.

The person will be based in the department of Life Sciences which is made up of researchers, curators and support staff who are working on a wide range of organisms in the natural world. They curate and have access to the extraordinary collections with > 70 million specimens.  The department has a strong research record in the study of algae, notably in seaweed taxonomy, phylogenetics and conservation.  It is home to one of the largest seaweed collections in the world and has the greatest geographical reach.  Notably for this project, the Falklands seaweed collections are a unique resource with > 4000 specimens dating from the 1840s to the present.

3. Role competencies (requirements)


PhD in Biological Sciences or equivelent

Role Competencies

1. Knowledge of seaweed/marine biodiversity

2. An understanding of morphological and molecular taxonomic approaches including writing species descriptions

3. Molecular techniques and analysis; phylogenetic tree construction

4. Databasing scientific collections

5. Knowledge of GIS techniques

6. Experience in writing and publishing scientific papers

7. Good communication and awareness skills

8. Remote fieldwork experience in the marine environment

4. Main tasks and responsibilities (job description)

1. Identification of seaweeds from the Falklands using morphological and molecular techniques

2. Databasing seaweed historical and contemporary seaweed collections

3. Document species distributions and habitats through GIS maps

4. Assist with development of an illustrated guide

5. Project management

6. Assist with fieldwork in the Falklands (c. 1 month)

5. Diversity and disability

At the Natural History Museum we value the diversity of our staff and volunteers and the benefits they bring to our organisation. We welcome applications from candidates with disabilities.

6. Health and Safety

All employees are required to understand and comply with the Museum Health and Safety Management Policy, including taking reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions whilst at work.

7. Application method

Please complete your application online in our recruitment portal.

You should upload the following documents:

  • A comprehensive curriculum vitae giving details of relevant achievements in recent posts as well as your education and professional qualifications.
  • A covering letter that summarises your interest in this post, providing evidence of your ability to match the criteria outlined in the Person Specification.  Please ensure your letter includes details of your latest salary and notice period.

8. Selection and appointment

Selection decisions are based on merit with candidates assessed against clear, objective competence at each stage of the recruitment and selection process. All offers of employment made are conditional and subject to satisfactory completion of all pre-employment checks.

9. Salary Information

Salary for the successful candidate will be £32,825 per annum plus benefits.
For a list of museum employee benefits please visit   Different rules for pay on promotion may apply to internal candidates.  Please refer to the Pay Chapter of the Staff Handbook or contact HR for advice

10. Contact for general enquiries

HR general enquiries:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.