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Marine Pelagic Ecosystems Postdoc Fellowship Programme at SANBI

PELAGIC ECOSYSTEM CLASSIFICATION: POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP

Closes: Friday, 20 October 2023 Location: Cape Town Duration: 18 months

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral fellow to join the Marine Programme at SANBI. The successful candidate will lead research to improve upon and update the classification and mapping of pelagic ecosystems for South Africa’s mainland maritime domain (from the shore to 200 nm) and will support its integration into the national Marine Ecosystem Map. The previous pelagic ecosystem classification was conducted by Lagabrielle (2009) and reported by Roberson et al. (2017). Updated and improved datasets exist as well as several new statistical approaches that should be considered. The candidate will be encouraged to investigate the integration of biodiversity datasets and include a focus on depths beyond the surface ocean. This work will feed directly into the next Marine Ecosystem Map and South Africa’s National Biodiversity Assessment. Lagabrielle, E. 2009. National pelagic bioregionalisation of South Africa: a preliminary report (eds K. Sink, A. Lombard and H. Grantham), 23 pages. Prepared for the South African National Biodiversity Institute by Conservation Systems. Roberson LA, Lagabrielle E, Lombard AT, Sink K, Livingstone T, Grantham H, Harris JM (2017) Pelagic bioregionalisation using open-access data for better planning of marine protected area networks. Ocean & Coastal Management 148:214–230. doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2017.08.017

Requirements: The postdoctoral fellowship is open to anyone who has completed a PhD in the last five years, or who will be awarded their PhD in 2023. Experience with spatial analyses, mapping of biodiversity or environmental patterns, competence with analytical programming languages (e.g. R or Python) and demonstrated marine biodiversity or oceanographic knowledge will be preferred. Advantages will include a developed network of collaborators in South African marine science institutions and a track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Research Areas: The main focus of this position will be bioregional classification of surface and subsurface pelagic ecosystems in South Africa. The successful candidate will be expected to lead the work from start to finish, in close collaboration with SANBI Marine Programme staff. They will furthermore support the integration of their resulting layer in the national Marine Ecosystem Map and will be involved in the delivery of that map in March 2025. The work will include interrogation of the literature, identifying, sourcing and managing relevant data, choosing among and implementing statistical approaches, and writing up results. Development of transparent and reproducible workflows will be a priority throughout. The incumbent will work within a small team that collaborates broadly and will be exposed to the exciting array of science-to-policy work that SANBI conducts.

Bursary value: The value of the fellowship is R 300 000 per year and is available for a period of 18 months (R 450 000), with a starting date as soon as possible. Limited running expenses will be made available. The postdoctoral fellow will be hosted at the University of Cape Town and will be co-supervised by Dr Natasha Karenyi (UCT) and Dr Jock Currie (SANBI).

Application procedure: Applications must include a standard bursary application cover sheet (attached to this advert); a full CV; certified copies of ID and academic records; two letters of reference (one must be from an academic supervisor); examples of published work and a motivation letter describing the applicant’s suitability for the position in terms of skills and experience, highlights of achievements to date, research interests, and future goals (approximately two-pages).

Send all application documents to students@sanbi.org.za and students.sanbi@gmail.com with “Marine Pelagic Ecosystems Postdoc Fellowship” in the subject line and copying j.currie@sanbi.org.za.


Candidates who applied previously may re-apply. SANBI reserves the right not to fill this fellowship. If no response has been received within 21 days of the closing date, candidates may assume that their applications were unsuccessful.

Academic inquiries: Dr Jock Currie Email: j.currie@sanbi.org.za General queries: Ms René du Toit Email: r.dutoit@sanbi.org.za

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