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20 Apr 2022

Full-Time Rockfish Barotrauma & Hypoxia Scientist

Ocean Associates inc. – Posted by oai1 San Diego, California, United States

Job Description

Ocean Associates, Inc. (OAI) is seeking an experienced Rockfish Barotrauma and Hypoxia Scientist to conduct behavioral, barotrauma, and respirometry experiments to determine rockfish sensitivity to hypoxia.  OAI is a Virginia corporation established in 2003 that provides consulting and technical services to the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the private sector. We specialize in scientific program and project management, strategic planning, professional and technical services and stakeholder engagement, supporting government contracts.   


Over the past several years the Genetic Physiology and Aquaculture group at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center has addressed issues associated with rockfish barotrauma, catch-and-release mortality, and the effectiveness of release / descending devices in releasing rockfish bycatch.  The results of this research have contributed to changes in recreational fishing depth restrictions and changes in mortality estimates for species such as the Cowcod (Sebastes levis), which heavily influence groundfish management decisions in Southern California.  We seek to further refine catch-and-release mortality estimates through examining rockfish sensitivity to hypoxia, which appears to be a main determinate of rockfish survival following catch and release.  For this project, we will work with two historically overfished rockfishes, Cowcod and Bocaccio (S. paucispinis) for simulated catch and release (barotrauma) experiments at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in order to determine their sensitivity to hypoxia pre and post capture and to define survival rates under variable environmental conditions.

The Genetics, Physiology, and Aquaculture (GPA) program of the Fisheries Resources Division (FRD) at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center conducts research to promote sustainable fisheries.  Part of this research seeks to use physiological tools to provide pertinent information to increase the efficiency and sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture practices.


Responsibilities and Tasks

  • Conduct rockfish choice tank experimentation to determine preferred dissolved oxygen concentrations and avoidance to hypoxia.
    • Maintain choice tank system and conduct behavioral studies of rockfish avoidance of hypoxia. The system (including a specialized experimental tank, buffer tanks, camera, and computer) requires continuous maintenance. Experiments will be conducted to determine rockfish (Cowcod and Bocaccio) sensitivity to hypoxia.
  • Continued maintenance of rockfish hyperbaric chambers and respirometers for collection of rockfish and examination of rockfish energetic demands pre and post simulated barotrauma.
    • Candidate will help setup and maintain rockfish hyperbaric chambers and respirometers for rockfish capture and transport, simulated catch and release experiments, and subsequent measures of energetic demands. Hyperbaric chambers and respirometers continuously need to be refurbished, calibrated, and tested. Rockfish will need to be collected from the field, and the contractor will help prepare the hyperbaric chambers and all collection equipment for this process.  Candidtae will also be responsible for rockfish husbandry and care.
  • Rockfish barotrauma and respirometry experiments to determine rockfish sensitivity to hypoxia pre and post simulated capture.
    • Examine Bocaccio and Cowcod sensitivity to hypoxia through respirometry experiments both pre and post simulated barotrauma and at multiple temperatures.  This will include acclimating rockfish to high pressure in hyperbaric chambers, inducing simulated catch and release through changing the hyperbaric chamber pressures, and then measuring rockfish oxygen consumption in the respirometers.
  • Help with other Genetic Physiology and Aquaculture program projects as time permits.
    • Help with other physiological experiments and data analyses, particularly abalone and sardine respirometry experiments as time allows.  Data analyses and related tasks (e.g., literature reviews, data mining, manuscript preparation) can be performed remotely (i.e., telework).


Location: Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, CA and in the field at locations TBD.

Salary and Benefits: Full time. Salary commensurate with experience. Generous employee benefits

Required Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree, or higher, from an accredited college or university with a major directly related in a field of study as related to the requirements of position with emphasis in fisheries, oceanography, social science, natural science, mathematics, or hydrology, plus one (1) year of experience in related field or combination of such totaling five (5) years combined education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience using static or flow-through respirometers and optical oxygen sensors on non-model marine or aquatic organisms (e.g. fish, invertebrates).
  • Demonstrated experience analyzing respirometry data to determine organismal metabolic rate and critical oxygen concentrations.
  • Experience working on and operating hyperbaric chambers.
  • Familiarity with behavioral choice tank systems and Shuttlesoft software used in behavioral choice tank experiments.
  • Experience with fish care and husbandry.
  • Ability to work effectively both individually and collaboratively in a team/group setting.
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback and implement appropriate action.


If you are interested in being considered for this position, please APPLY THROUGH OUR ADP WEB PORTAL, AT THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.

Only qualified applicants that meet minimum experience or background requirements stated above need apply. When applying for this position you will be asked to upload your resume at the end of this online application.

Applicants should submit a resume that includes the following:

  • Cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the required and preferred qualifications listed.
  • Work history for past 10 years or since last full-time education.
  • Education.
  • Previous experience or training with similar requirements.
  • Three professional references.
  • Include your name in the document file name.
  • Upload your resume in readable, not scanned, PDF or Word format (PDF is preferred).

How to Apply  

Job Categories: Equal Opportunities. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: Not Disclosed.

Job expires in 15 days.

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