Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Quantitative Coral Reef Ecology and Biomechanics

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Fellowship description and duties: The J. Madin laboratory ( at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology ( is seeking to recruit a quantitative ecology postdoctoral fellow who can do fieldwork to join our lab. The successful candidate will design and lead research investigating the structure and function of coral reefs with an emphasis on differences among reef-building coral species in terms of demography, biomechanics, morphology and other functional and life history traits.

Research context and specific focus: Reef coral species compete for the same limiting resources on reefs yet one species rarely outcompetes all others. Coexistence is the result of trade-offs in life history traits in time and space. Coral reef ecologists have a good general feel for these traits and how they might trade-off, but they tend to be poorly quantified. The J. Madin lab is making a push to better quantify morphological, mechanical and demographic traits of corals so that we can better understand the trade-offs that lead to coral reef biodiversity and predict impacts of disturbances.

The postdoc will develop novel research questions focused on quantifying the physical organism in new and scalable ways using emerging technologies. The postdoc need not have prior experience with corals, but will have a broad perspective and be able compare findings across systems. The postdoc can take advantage of easy access to many field sites to conduct field studies if appropriate around Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii, where HIMB is situated.

Required qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. in ecology, oceanography, engineering, mathematics, or a highly quantitative field;
  • Excellent publication record that illustrates an ability to conduct novel, independent research;
  • Considerable experience processing, manipulating, and analyzing large datasets;
  • Demonstrated aptitude for applying advanced computational tools in a research setting;
  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills;
  • Strong attention to detail, and meticulous work style, as evidenced by previous research;
  • Excellent time management skills, including the ability to meet project goals in a timely manner, and follow through on projects to completion;
  • Demonstrated ability to mentor, or an interest in mentoring, junior laboratory members;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, and to communicate research findings at professional meetings and in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

Desirable qualifications:

  • Experience participating in or leading marine field expeditions, including the use of snorkelling and SCUBA diving;
  • Experience as a small boat operator;
  • Ability to travel internationally for fieldwork and/or conferences.

Research environment: The postdoc will be based in the lab of Dr. Joshua Madin at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). HIMB is within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST; at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. HIMB provides unparalleled research opportunities, in particular due to its unique location on Moku o Lo‘e Island (Coconut Island) surrounded by a coral reef in Kane‘ohe Bay on the windward side of the island of O‘ahu (~ 24 km from the main university campus in Manoa).

The J. Madin lab is rapidly developing a supportive and stimulating research environment with a group of highly collegial scientists who are committed to scientific outreach, to open science, and to enhancing diversity in STEM. We offer a flexible work environment where work-life balance is encouraged.

Appointment and application: The postdoc fellowship is initially for one year, renewable for up to three years based on performance and funding availability. Fellowship stipend is commensurate with experience within guidelines set by the university. The start date is flexible.

To apply: Candidates should submit the following materials via email to Dr. Madin ( in a single PDF document, with your last name in the file name and the subject heading “Madin Lab postdoc application” by Oct. 20, 2018 (Hawaii–Aleutian Standard Time):

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation for applying for this fellowship, how your prior research experience qualifies you for the position, how you satisfy the required and desirable qualifications, and your career goals;
  • A short (1-2 page) research proposal describing the research you would like to undertake;
  • A CV (including publication list, which may include publications in advanced stages of preparation that will be likely in the review process by the above postdoctoral fellowship deadline date);
  • Names and contact details for three references.

Quality and originality of the research proposal, individual qualifications and background, academic excellence, and collegiality will be the primary criteria in selecting the successful candidate.

The J. Madin Lab is committed to equality and diversity and we encourage applications from women, underrepresented minorities, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities.