Genetics Lab Support; Ocean Associates, Inc. (OAI)

Job Title: 
Genetics Lab Support
Job Location: 
La Jolla, California
Application Deadline: 
Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ocean Associates, Inc. (OAI) is seeking an individual to provide support to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Genetics, Physiology and Aquaculture program (SWFSC-GPA) of the Fisheries Resources Division at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. OAI supplies personnel support services on contract to government and industry clients for marine fisheries and protected species. 


The SWFSC-GPA conducts research to promote sustainable fisheries.  As part of this work, they develop and utilize genetic tools to improve both management of wild populations as well as managing breeding programs in aquaculture.  The production and analysis of genetic data to quantify genetic diversity, identify and develop trait-linked markers, and understand spawning dynamics is required for several projects currently underway.  Additionally, the emerging field of using environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly becoming a need for the program to aid in surveys of wild populations of fish and invertebrates.


Key tasks include the following:

  • eDNA analyses
    • Participate with NOAA staff to collect water or other bulk samples for DNA extraction.  The field-based sampling would involve occasional multi-hour day trips to collect water samples or fish specimens for prey content analyses (typically <1 day) in addition to processing of archived samples.  This task involves filtration of seawater or processing of tissue homogenate using DNA clean techniques, extraction of DNA from filter media/homogenate using a variety of DNA extraction methods, amplification of DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), evaluation of PCR by gel electrophoresis, and subsequent DNA sequencing to verify species detected. In lab-based studies, comparison of eDNA results to standard methods or known data (e.g. known species of fish/abalone in a tank, visual identifications of organisms present in stomach contents), should be conducted to evaluate the comparability between eDNA and other data generation methods.
  • Wild Population Genetic Diversity
    • Participate in lab- and field-based studies to collect tissue samples from the field or use archived specimens and perform laboratory analyses alongside NOAA SWFSC staff.  The field-based studies would involve occasional multi-hour day trips to collect tissue samples from wild marine organisms (typically <1day) and to archive these tissues in the SWFSC tissue archive.  The laboratory portion of this task involves extraction of DNA from tissue samples using a variety of DNA extraction methods, amplification of DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), evaluation of PCR by gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing or genotyping, and data analysis. The contractor will also assist is basic laboratory management including restocking supplies, cleaning, and scheduling.
  • Captive Population Genetic Diversity
    • Participate with NOAA staff to collect and process samples of tissue, eggs, and larvae to generate genotype data, metrics of genetic diversity, and conduct parentage analyses of captive populations of fish and invertebrates to guide culturing practices and provide data for best management practices.  This task involves extraction of DNA from various tissue types (i.e. muscle/fin/tentacle tissue, egg, larva) using a variety of DNA extraction methods specific to the sample type, amplification of DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), evaluation of PCR by gel electrophoresis, and subsequent DNA sequencing or genotyping and parentage or genetic matching assays.


Start Date: October 01, 2020

Location: Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8901 La Jolla Shores Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037 or in the field at locations TBD.

Salary and Benefits: This is a full-time position with benefits. Salary commensurate with experience.


Minimum Required Knowledge and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree, or higher, from an accredited college or university with a major directly related in a field of study as related to the requirements of specific task order with emphasis in fisheries, oceanography, social science, natural science, mathematics, or hydrology.

Additional required skills and experience  

  • Basic laboratory experience using genetic methods including DNA extraction and quantification, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Gel electrophoresis, and data archiving
  • Experience working on marine finfish and/or invertebrate genetic projects

Additional preferred qualifications include

  • Experience conducting eDNA studies including collection of samples and interpretation of results.
  • Experience working in an aquaculture setting with knowledge on handling, breeding strategies, spawning, and larval development.


If you are interested in being considered for this position, please APPLY THROUGH OUR ADP WEB PORTAL, AT THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.

Only qualified applicants that meet minimum experience or background requirements stated above need apply. When applying for this position you will be asked to upload your resume at the end of this online application.

Applicants should submit a resume that includes the following:

  • Cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the required and preferred qualifications listed.
  • Work history for past 10 years or since last full-time education.
  • Education.
  • Previous experience or training with similar requirements.
  • Three professional references.  
  • Include your name in the document file name.
  • Upload your resume in readable, not scanned, PDF or Word format (PDF is preferred).  

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States, complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire, and successfully complete a federal government background check.  Ocean Associates Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. 

OAI is a government contractor and is required by law to invite applicants to self-identify their race, gender, national origin, disability status and veteran status. OAI is required to use the information it collects as part of its future affirmative action efforts in hiring. The information is collected anonymously by computer and is not connected to your application. You will see a place to check certain boxes in OAI's online application. Even though the information is anonymous, self-identification is voluntary. You can always check the box that says you decline to self-identify. 

Note:  If you are not selected, your materials may be retained for present or future opportunities. We may use your resume in bidding on a project and if we are awarded the work we will contact you before seeking further applicants. If you do not wish us to retain or use your resume to seek work for you, please let us know in the "Notes" section on the second page of the online application. 

Please note that all jobs are automatically removed once the application deadline passes. Jobs without a deadline are automatically removed after 30 days.