Postdoctoral Research Associate(s) in coral reef ecology and oceanography / isotope ecology

An opening is available for one or more outstanding postdoctoral researchers wishing to continue their research on coral reef ecology or oceanography, or isotope ecology, focusing on efforts to enhance understanding and stewardship of marine ecosystems and associated species. The successful candidate will be a Research Associate in the Department of Ocean Science at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in collaboration with Dr Alex S.J. Wyatt and the Oceanographic Ecology Laboratory. The position is currently funded for 2 years, with annual renewal subject to performance. Internationally competitive starting salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Annual leave and medical and dental benefits will be provided.

Research themes

The successful candidate will leverage their experience and a range of existing facilities to broadly:

Quantify oceanographic and climatic drivers of the structure and function of tropical marine ecosystems

focusing, for example, on understanding spatio-temporal changes in:

  • environmental drivers of coral reef ecosystems, including mesophotic coral ecosystems,
  • factors promoting resilience to disturbances, such as coral bleaching events, and/or
  • species-level foraging behaviour and feeding specialisations in coral reef fishes and planktivorous megafauna.

Access to, and where required training in, a range of specialist equipment will be possible, including facilities for compound-specific isotope analyses, in-situ benthic productivity measurements (eddy covariance), technical scientific diving (including rebreathers), and on-campus running seawater facilities for manipulative experiments.

The University

HKUST is a world-class international research university dedicated to: (1) the advancement of science, technology and business, as well as humanities and social science; (2) education of the next generation of front runners, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels; and, (3) making societal impact. The university promotes interdisciplinary studies, dedicated to educating well-rounded students with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. It is one of the most international universities in Asia, with English as the language of teaching, research and administration. It was ranked 1st in the 2018 Times Higher Education Young University Ranking, 12th worldwide (1st in greater China) in the 2017 Global Employability University Ranking, and 34th in the latest QS World University Rankings. It is the best young university in the world according to the Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2019. Located in the Clear Water Bay area, HKUST’s campus has a magnificent ocean view and is also widely known as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.  The Coastal Marine Laboratory provides running seawater facilities and a “sea simulator” mesocosm system for manipulative experimental studies right on campus.

Candidate Requirements

We are seeking a highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Associate to pursue research on the oceanographic drivers or isotope ecology of marine ecosystems and species.  The candidate will be expected to integrate with existing projects in the lab, as well as design and lead independent efforts, in collaboration with other lab members.


  1. A Ph.D. from a recognised university in biology, ecology or oceanography, preferably with a strong marine focus
  2. Extensive field research experience, preferably in marine / oceanographic settings , OR advanced geochemical laboratory experience (e.g., compound-specific isotopes)
  3. Well-developed laboratory skills, including in sample preparation and / or performing chemical analyses
  4. High-level English abilities (e.g., degree in English and TOEFL etc. for non-native speakers).
  5. The ability to participate in marine field work that may sometimes be physically demanding and in remote locations for extended periods.
  6. The ability to work independently and troubleshoot problems across field and laboratory settings.


  1. Experience with oceanographic techniques and oceanographic instruments, including well-developed data processing skills / programming (e.g., MATLAB®).
  2. Experience with abiotic (seawater, sediments) and biotic (coral, sponges, fish) sampling.
  3. Experience performing bulk and compound-specific isotope analysis (especially of amino acids and fatty acids).
  4. Scientific and/or technical diving qualifications with extensive experience conducting research diving OR willingness and ability to become trained in technical scientific diving (and participate in mesophotic reef studies).

Application Procedure

Potential candidates should send, as three (3) separate attachments, a copy of:

  1. their CV (2 pages maximum)
  2. a cover letter (2 pages maximum), outlining:
    1. research interests in the context of the lab’s research themes,
    2. suitability for the role (refer explicitly to the criteria above), and
    3. contact details for three (3) professional referees.
  3. An outline of the research project(s) they would like to develop and purse in the lab, highlighting any specialist equipment that could be required (1 page maximum).


Review of applications will start immediately and continue until the position is filled.


Additional information is available on the web about the University, the Department of Ocean Science and the Ocean Ecol (Wyatt) Lab.

(Information provided by applicants will only be used for recruitment and other employment-related purposes)