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Post-Doctoral Research Associate – Indian Ocean bio-optics and satellite ocean colour

Website Curtin University


Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Earth and Planetary Sciences
Location: Curtin University, Bentley Campus, Bentley (Perth), WA 6102
Supervisor: Prof. David Antoine
Start: as soon as practicable, ideally first semester 2022.

The Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group (RSSRG) of Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, invites applicants for a Post-doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position in bio-optics and satellite ocean colour remote sensing.

The project: this PDRA position is supported by a new ARC-funded “discovery project” that the RSSRG has been awarded (project lead: Prof David Antoine). The project is called “Why ocean deserts matter: Phytoplankton carbon and productivity in oligotrophic waters of the Indian Ocean”. The general goal of the project is to reassess the contribution of ocean deserts to the global carbon budget, through better quantification of phytoplankton carbon biomass and associated productivity from satellite ocean colour observations, focusing on the Indian Ocean, which is among the least sampled and therefore least understood regions of the World Ocean.
The project is essentially based on analysis of a data set that was collected in 2019 during a multidisciplinary 1-month research voyage in the Eastern Indian Ocean (, and which includes inherent and apparent optical properties (IOPs and AOPs), phytoplankton pigments, primary productivity and a number of other parameters describing the phytoplankton population.
One objective is to investigate relationships among IOPs, AOPs, chlorophyll, phytoplankton carbon, particulate organic carbon, and information on particle characteristics to improve retrieval of phytoplankton carbon from satellite ocean colour (this part of the project is in collaboration with Prof Michael Behrenfeld, OSU). Another objective is to improve modelling of the optical particulate backscattering from phytoplankton and particle state variables in a coupled physical-biogeochemical model (this part of the project is in collaboration with Dr Mark Baird, CSIRO).

Specifically, the PDRA would work on the relationships between particle characteristics (e.g., concentrations and types of particles, size distributions, pigments), optical properties, and measures of phytoplankton carbon and productivity. Under the guidance of the project lead and collaborators, the PDRA will progressively gain intellectual ownership of the research and freedom to adjust its direction.

Expected qualifications: Candidates must have completed a PhD in a discipline sufficiently close to what this project is addressing. Strong expertise in marine bio-optics and satellite ocean colour (OCR) is essential. Proficiency in geophysical data processing (in-situ and satellite) is also essential, as well as experience in the development of algorithms for the retrieval of water properties from OCR.  Experience with field bio-optics can be a significant advantage.

Start date: As soon as practicable for the applicant and, in case the applicant is from outside Australia, in accordance with the Covid19 pandemic situation and associated regulations that the Australian Government has put in place for visitors from abroad.

Duration : 2.5 years

To apply for this job please visit

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