The Smithsonian Institution seeks an energetic, field-oriented biologist to support research on biological communities of oyster reefs and other estuarine ecosystems. The position is based in the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s (SERC) Fisheries Conservation Lab, led by Dr. Matt Ogburn (


The technician will conduct field and laboratory research on the ecology of harvested and restored oyster reefs and assist with long-term (40+ year) surveys of estuarine fish and invertebrate communities. The research is primarily located in Chesapeake Bay, with potential travel to other locations in the US (e.g., FL, CA, NY, TX) and internationally. Duties include:

  • Assisting with dive-based, underwater video, and ARIS sonar surveys of oyster reefs
  • Assisting with trawl, seine, and other field surveys of fish and invertebrate communities
  • Processing underwater video and sonar images, and biological samples
  • Data management, volunteer coordination, and science communication


The position requires a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Marine Science, Ecology, or related field and demonstrated interest or experience working in oyster reef or estuarine ecosystems. The applicant must be detail-oriented, responsible, and prepared to work in challenging field conditions (lifting heavy objects, hot and cold days, soft mud). Competent data entry and management skills are required (Microsoft Office and R preferred). Practical knowledge of field research procedures and biology and taxonomy of estuarine organisms is preferred. Applicant must be willing to learn skills valuable to research teams including driving large trucks, driving and trailering boats, using power tools, and developing content for websites and social media. Experience with these skills, with ARIS or DIDSON sonar, and with Chesapeake Bay species should be noted in the application. Scientific diving certification (AAUS preferred) and experience is strongly preferred and should be described in the application.


The position is based at SERC in Edgewater, MD and requires occasional travel. This is a full-time position with a comprehensive benefits package (starting salary based on degree obtained and experience). The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the US. The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital/parental/caregiver status and disability. The SERC community recognizes the value of diversity in promoting innovative science and creative solutions, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.


To apply, please send the following as a single PDF document to Matt Ogburn ( Curriculum Vitae, cover letter summarizing relevant experience, and the names and full contact information (email, phone, postal address) of three references.

Review of applications will begin on 22 March 2024 until the position is filled.