Post-Doctoral Research Opportunity in Southern Ocean Bio-optics

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunity in Southern Ocean Bio-optics



The Southern Ocean plays a very important role in the global carbon-climate system taking up an estimated ~50% of anthropogenic CO2. Ocean colour remote sensing is particularly useful in understanding chronically under-sampled marine environments (such as the polar oceans) and there is thus a need to develop and apply emerging techniques to derive information from ocean colour that will allow new insight into the Southern Ocean ecosystem function. The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observatory (SOCCO) is a multi-institutional South African initiative led by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) whose aims are to understand the link between climate and the carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean.


The marine bio-optical research group (comprised of the CSIR, SOCCO, the Earth Observation group and the University of Cape Town) currently has seven PhD students and two scientists working within a range of bio-optics fields that include the following: inland and coastal algorithm development, inherent optical property (IOP) characterisation with respect to phytoplankton assemblage and carbon content, phytoplankton functional type and harmful algal bloom algorithms, radiative transfer modelling, fluorescence quantum yield algorithms, and bio-optical/physiological modelling.


Equipment and Resources

The following equipment and resources are available to researchers within the group: New Agulhas II ice-breaking research vessel, Biospherical profiling C-OPS and Satlantic TSRB; IOP system comprised of Wetlabs AC-S, 2 x Wetlabs BB-9, Trios OSCAR, JFE MultiExcite spectral fluorometer; Coulter Multisizer 4; Four iRobot SeaGliders with Wetlabs PUK; Three NKE Provor Bio-optics floats including PIC and POC sensors; HPLC, microscopy etc. In addition the Hydrolight/Ecolight radiative transfer models and high performance computing facilities are available through the South African Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC).


Expertise: The Post Doc candidate must have a PhD in the bio-optical field and extensive experience of acquiring and processing bio-optical data.


Job Description: To initiate further independent research within the strategic objectives of the current programme, assist with PhD/MSc supervision, assist with project management and further strategic development. The candidate must be willing to spend large periods of time at sea.


Potential Research Topics: The focus of the post doc is on improving understanding of algal dynamics and carbon sequestration in the Southern Ocean using bio-optical and ocean colour observations. There is some flexibility within this larger strategy e.g. fluorescence quantum yield and photo-physiological algorithms; bio-optically based radiative transfer and phytoplankton functional type algorithm development; integration of autonomous and ocean colour derived carbon dynamics; etc.


Money and Duration: The Post doc is for R200 000 (tax free) per year for two years extendable by one year subject to review. 




Institution: The post doc researcher will be based at the CHPC / CSIR and the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


Application Procedure: Applicants are requested to please send a CV with three referees to together with a motivational letter that highlights their training experience and includes a statement on their proposed research topic.


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