Job Title: Postdoctoral Researcher
Location: Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce; Fort Pierce, FL 34949
Duration: 1 year/full-time (40 h/week) beginning July 15, 2023 with the possibility for extension.
Compensation: IS9-1 ($60,863/year) plus health benefits


We are searching for a Postdoctoral Researcher to work toward the enhancement of coral thermotolerance and disease resistance using probiotic bacteria. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS) you will be working with the large, multidisciplinary X-REEFS (neXt generation Reef Engineering to Enhance Future Structures) team, funded by the DARPA Reefense Program to ?develop self-healing, hybrid biological, and engineered reef-mimicking structures to mitigate the coastal flooding.? Specifically, you will be working to develop novel techniques for enhancing the adaptive capacity and long-term resilience of corals using probiotic bacteria. This research group is at the forefront of research investigating the development of probiotics to treat stony coral tissue loss disease currently devastating reefs in Florida and the Caribbean and seeks to expand our research into enhanced thermotolerance as well.
Work will take place primarily at the Smithsonian Marine Station using the live coral facilities, microbiology laboratory and molecular biology laboratory but may require some travel to other locations in Florida.

Scope of Work:

Establish screening methods to identify probiotic bacterial isolates that impart disease resistance and/or thermotolerance to adult and newly settled corals. Isolate bacterial strains from corals and screen them for probiotic activity. Perform controlled ex situ experiments using probiotics identified during the screening process on multiple coral species, focusing on increased disease resistance and thermotolerance as metrics. Deploy treated recruits and/or adults to the field (nurseries and/or structures), monitor survivorship and growth, compare with same-genotype controls. Test efficacy over time using temperature or disease challenge, re-apply probiotic treatments at intervals, and compare to controls.


  • PhD or equivalent in Microbiology, Marine Science, Biology or related field
  • Expertise in marine microbiology
  • Experience working with marine invertebrates in a closed system
  • Strong background in data management and analysis
  • Ability to communicate effectively with coworkers, collaborators, funding agents and the broader scientific community. This includes ability to disseminate research through publications, presentations and reports to funding agents.
  • AAUS diving certification and experience with fieldwork is preferred, but is not required

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Dr. Jennifer Sneed ( by May 8, 2023.

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