Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

Location: San Diego, CA

Position Title:  Animal Behavior & Senses Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRA)

Job Classification:  Full-Time/Exempt
Salary: $65,000-$72,000 (commensurate with qualifications), plus benefits
Location:  San Diego, California
Application Deadline: The position will remain open until filled; however, to ensure full consideration, applications should be submitted by COB July 30, 2023.

Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) is accepting applications for the following position within its Animal Behavior and Senses Program in southern California.

Institute Description: Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) is a non-profit, marine science organization that conducts research related to its mission of promoting ocean conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Founded in 1963, HSWRI operates two research facilities in California: one in San Diego's Mission Bay and the other in Carlsbad, in addition to a facility in Melbourne Beach, Florida. The Institute's research covers a wide range of topics, including marine mammal behavior, physiology, and health, as well as the development of innovative aquaculture techniques for cultivating marine plants and animals. HSWRI' also researches oceanographic processes and the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. The goal of HSWRI's research is to inform policy decisions and promote sustainable management of the ocean's resources.

Program Description:  The Animal Behavior & Senses Program at HSWRI (ABS)has been conducting research on animal bioacoustics (sound perception and production) since the 1970s.  HSWRI seeks scientific solutions to complex challenges facing marine life, including leveraging its access to animals in the SeaWorld parks to do research that benefits marine life.  ABS is known for research on cetacean communication and the effects of noise, including helping to set guidelines for marine mammal exposure to anthropogenic noise.  Future goals include research on animal behavioral adaptations to varying acoustic environments, using underwater audio and video tools for animal behavior and occurrence monitoring, and quantifying anthropogenic influences on animal behavior.

Job Summary: PRAs work under the direct supervision of a HSWRI Senior Research Biologist (SRB), in this case the Chief Science Officer (CSO). The primary focus of the position will be to develop state-of-the art hardware and software to collect and process data on animal behavior, sound production, and acoustic environments.  The position will include work on animals in both managed care and under free-ranging conditions, with a focus on marine mammals, birds and fishes.  Although possible research approaches will be suggested at the start of the post-doctoral position, the associate will be expected to contribute substantially to the design and conduct of the work. This position will be funded for 2 years (upon favorable annual reviews), with potential for advancement to Research Scientist depending on successful completion of project goals, contributions to publications, and grant and fundraising activities during the term of the position.


1. Research 30%

  • a. Conducting research at the level of a Research Scientist, consistent with the HSWRI mission, ABS research goals, and the candidate’s research interests.
  • b. Coordinating intern and graduate student support as needed.
  • c. Developing and maintaining relationships with staff at SeaWorld or other oceanaria for in-park data collection.
  • d. Assisting in updating software and hardware to collect data on animal behavior, acoustic environments, and human activities.

2. Preparation of Publications 30%

  • a. Assist in analysis of data and preparation of publications for ongoing projects; the candidate will have input into the selection of the topic(s).

3. Proposal Development & Fundraising 20%

  • a. Work collaboratively with the other researchers and the HSWRI Development team to increase unrestricted and restricted financial support for Animal Behavior and Senses projects.
  • b. Identify and cultivate potential supporters and donors.
  • c. Communicate the mission of the laboratory and its achievements to a variety of stakeholders, including decision-makers and the general public.

4. Representing Research Programs and Outreach 10%

  • a. Prepare and present results in professional venues such as meetings or lecture presentations at local universities.
  • b. Represent research programs through participation in outreach and development activities.

5. Assist in Maintenance of ABS Bioacoustics Laboratory 10%

  • a. Assist in equipment maintenance and calibration
  • b. Assist in identifying needs for the laboratory and preparing budgets


• PhD in a relevant science discipline (Biology, Oceanography, Zoology, etc.), preferably within the last 5 years.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the use of standard word processing and spreadsheet programs.
• Experience collecting and processing video of animal behavior; research experience in using state-of-the-art software to process video data desirable.
• Experience with developing systems for data collection and using and maintaining equipment for research in acoustics.
• Knowledge of software for manipulating and processing sound.
• Proven track record of successful scientific project completion and publication.
• Ability to work in oceanarium environment and in the field.
• Prior experience with community outreach, and fund raising/grant writing.

Physical Requirements and Working Conditions:

• Must possess mobility to work in laboratory and office buildings and outdoor settings, to use standard laboratory and field equipment, to use a computer, and to travel to various sites within and away from Southern California.
• Vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; hearing and speech to communicate effectively in person and over the telephone with accommodation.
• Capacity to listen to and process acoustic data.
• Ability to lift 50 pounds with accommodation.
• Work areas may include wet and windy environments subject to weather exposure and at times may include working on vessels.  Indoor activities include office work and bench laboratory work.
• Must possess and maintain a valid driving license, a reliable personal vehicle, and insurability to drive an HSWRI vehicle.
• May include out-of-state travel (e.g., HSWRI Florida Laboratory, field sites, professional meetings) based on scientific activities.
• Support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment where all staff, volunteers and guests are respected and valued.
• Employment is contingent on successful engagement in the HSWRI COVID-19 Vaccination program (fully vaccinated with documented proof or approved exception/deferral).
• Must be authorized to work in the United States.

At Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, your base wage is only a portion of your overall compensation package. We are proud to offer a full benefits package, which may include:

• Health insurance benefits options, including medical, prescription, vision, dental, life, and short- and long-term disability.
• Flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care expenses
• Retirement Plan options
• Paid time off for all regular FT team members (starting at 10 annual days each sick/vacation and 12 holidays)
• Employee Assistance Program – Confidential professional counseling, financial, and legal assistance provided at no charge to Team Members and immediate family members

Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment where all trustees, staff, volunteers, collaborators and guests feel respected and valued regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or identity, disability, or education. We’re committed to being nondiscriminatory and providing equal opportunities for employment, volunteering, representation, and advancement in all areas of our work. Hubbs-SeaWorld ResearchInstitute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

How to apply: Please send a completed application, cover letter and resume to




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