Full-Time Research Assistant

Research Assistant


The Vantuna Research Group (www.oxy.edu/vantuna-research-group) at Occidental College is seeking a Research Assistant to assist with its extensive grant-funded field programs. We research nearshore marine systems throughout the Southern California Bight and work on a variety of studies including MPA research, rocky reef restoration, NPDES monitoring, and long-term monitoring of rocky reefs. Our research program conducts fieldwork 2-4 days a week, year-round. Workdays not in the field are spent on campus in the office and laboratory. It is essential that this person be able to accurately interpret and follow established guidelines and procedures, and collect accurate data, as well as assisting in field and office activities. This position requires the employee to travel to off-campus sites, and to work evenings, weekends or on multi-day trips when necessary. This person will integrate with the current staff and student researchers and reports to the Director.



  • An experienced AAUS scuba diver and familiar with nearshore fauna of the Southern California Bight. Able to accurately identify and count algae, invertebrate and fishes and collect additional data while scuba diving. Must also be able to perform work tasks (e.g., collecting sediment cores, retrieving equipment) while diving.
  • Operates and maintains oceanographic/biological equipment, including a CTD water profiler, Niskin water sampler, flowmeters, low-speed saws, microscopes, computers, lab-ware, scales, etc.
  • Operates small boats as a dive tender and for data collection.
  • Prepares dive gear and other equipment for field days.
  • Leads field operations for environmental monitoring projects.
  • Makes decisions in both the laboratory and the field with regard to student and personnel safety.
  • Assists Research Associates with student training and supervision.
  • Assists Director, Associate Director, Research Scientist and Research Associates with various projects, information gathering, data entry, QA/QC, and database management.
  • Represents the College and program director in a positive manner to contracting organizations, subcontractors, and other College representatives and employees.



  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in a relevant scientific field.
  • Current AAUS certification with advanced training in research diving in cold and open water environments.
  • Must be able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Able to work safely in adverse weather conditions in a variety of demanding environmental conditions, and have strong swimming abilities for water-based fieldwork.
  • Must provide all dive gear except tanks.
  • Experienced in the operation and trailering of small boats (up to 21’) including the ability to become small-boat certified through the MOTC program.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office.
  • Ability to deal effectively with occasional crisis situations.
  • Able to travel to off-campus sites, and to work evenings, weekends or on multi-day trips when necessary.
  • Valid driver’s license and the ability to become an authorized designated driver of campus-owned vehicle.
  • Must be able to pass a drug and alcohol test.



  • Knowledge of taxonomy and identification of southern California marine algae, invertebrates, and fishes.
  • Experience with southern California marine mammal identification.
  • Experience with fish life history research methods.
  • Trained in CRANE, Kelp Forest Monitoring Program, or PISCO protocol.
  • Experience with database management and statistical analysis.



This is a full-time position, with an hourly pay rate of $20 per hour, that includes a competitive benefits package including health, dental, and life insurance. The ideal start date for this position will be January 2, 2018, but the candidate may start anytime before March 19, 2018. The initial appointment will be made for one year, with possibility of extension based on the availability of external grant funding. Applications must include a CV, a cover letter describing research experience and interests, and two letters of reference. All applications should be sent to vrg@oxy.edu with subject line indicating "Research Assistant"; the two letters should be sent directly by your references to the same email address. Review of applications will begin November 27, 2017, and will continue until the position is filled. Any inquiries regarding the position should be sent to vrg@oxy.edu.


Occidental College is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against employees or applicants because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by State or Federal Law.