Research Assistant

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Published: October 5, 2022
Woods Hole, MA
Skill Level
Entry Level
Job Type
Analyst / Research / Scientific

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The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet's last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with the Earth's atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life-including humanity. This is essential to advance knowledge about our planet and to ensure society's long-term welfare.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a diverse organization. The curiosity, creativity, and commitment of our people make us one of the most esteemed names in ocean science and engineering. If WHOI's mission and values resonate with you, please join us in building your career with a world leader in ocean science, engineering, education, and global ocean exploration. Dive in. Make a difference!

Job Summary

WHOI is currently searching for a Research Assistant to join the Biology Department. This is a regular, full-time, non-exempt position, and is eligible for benefits. 

The successful candidate would be responsible for performing a variety of lab- and field-related activities. The individual will assist with general lab needs and activities in the Llopiz Lab, specifically often including performing: fish dissections, sorting through plankton samples for specific taxa, preparing fish and zooplankton samples for stable isotope analyses, performing chlorophyll analyses, and occasionally going to sea for field sampling.

The internal working title for this position could be either Research Assistant I (RA I) or Research Assistant II (RA II). The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience. 

Essential Functions


  • Assists in collecting project data as directed;
  • Prepares data or material for analysis or presentation using standard research techniques;
  • Processes and analyzes data according to established technical procedures;


  • Maintains records related to the research and/or research equipment.
  • Executes designated research tasks, making use of selected laboratory experiments, equipment, field work, library research, data acquisition and processing, statistical analyses or other investigative techniques;
  • Organizes and summarizes acquired data, using scientific and statistical techniques including computer programs;
  • Organizes and/or drafts material for the preparation of research papers, manuscripts, or other documents for publication and/or presentation;
  • Participates in the design of experiments or field work. 

Non-essential Functions:

  • As deemed necessary by supervisor


Education & Experience:


Bachelor's degree, or Associate's degree in related field plus one year related experience, or High School diploma or equivalent plus three years' related experience.


Bachelor's degree in related field, or Bachelor's degree in non-related field plus two years' related experience, or Associate's degree in related field plus three years' related experience, or High School diploma or equivalent plus five years' related experience.

Special Requirements:

  • TWIC
  • Must be a US Citizen
  • Security Clearance
  • Person drives WHOI vehicle

WHOI has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect, where you must register your full vaccination status (vaccination plus booster) in order to begin employment. The registration process is confidential and entails submitting your official vaccination records or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason.

Physical Requirements:

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic/fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times (e.g. at sea) up to 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email for assistance.

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