Biological Research Assistant

CSS, Inc. HQ
Canton, North Carolina, US
Apr 28, 2021
May 21, 2021
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type
CSS is seeking a Biological Research Assistant for full-time employment to support NOAA's Laboratory, National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) in Beaufort, NC. The primary focus area for this position will be to work with NCCOS and partners to assess the occurrence of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) toxins in the marine food web, and to develop and test molecular tools to quantify HAB cells in environmental samples. The resulting data will be used to assess the potential impact of HAB toxins on coastal ecosystems and to advance NOAA's HAB forecasting goals.

Core Responsibilities:
  • Receive, sort, and log samples of sediment, plankton, fish, invertebrates and other biota from project partners. Ensure all samples are adequately labeled and stored as directed.
  • Follow established protocols to process samples of plankton, fish, invertebrates or other biota for algal toxin analysis.
  • Assist team members with chemical analysis of extracted samples for algal toxins via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), or other designated methods.
  • Process sediment samples for analysis. Activities include sieving, filtering, chemical preservation, staining, and preparation for microscopy and molecular analysis.
  • Thaw frozen fish, invertebrates, and other samples for dissection, subsampling, and other activities.
  • Assist team members with maintenance of algal references cultures for molecular and/or toxin analysis, experimentation, or other activities.
  • Assist team members with molecular analysis of environmental samples via PCR, quantitative PCR, and in-situ hybridization as needed to support project objectives.
  • Collate analytical results and metadata for graphical or statistical analysis and incorporation into tables, figures, maps and other products as needed for reports publications.
  • Gather oceanographic, meteorological and other data from online archives/databases, from project partners, and other sources for mapping and/or spatial analysis as needed to support research projects.
  • Assist co-workers in drafting reports, papers and other publications from research projects.
  • Travel to field locations to assist team members, project partners and collaborators with collection and processing of seawater, sediment, plankton, fish, invertebrates and environmental data on extended research cruises in the Alaskan region, the Gulf of Maine, and other locations as needed. Field duties may necessitate working at odd hours and under adverse weather and sea conditions.
  • Assist with packing, shipping and receiving of project samples to/from the Beaufort Laboratory or from partner facilities as needed to support project objectives.
  • Assist team members with general laboratory and field support activities, including making culture media, sterilizing glassware, labeling samples and laboratory materials, cleaning laboratory glassware, packing and unpacking field equipment, and other designated science activities.

Required Qualifications:
  • B.S. degree in ecology, biology or oceanography, marine science or related sciences, and one or more years of demonstrated relevant work experience in the laboratory and field.
  • Ability to work for extended periods on large and small vessels under adverse weather and sea conditions.
  • Experience with basic laboratory procedures in biological analysis, chemical analysis and safety.
  • Ability to follow laboratory protocols with or without direct guidance.
  • Experience with software for graphical and statistical analysis as well as GIS mapping and analysis.
  • Experience with field collection of environmental samples on vessels or land with sampling bottles, small and large nets, sediment samplers and other collection gear.
  • The successful candidate will be organized, detail-oriented, able to maintain records, and work both independently and collaboratively with co-workers and partners in laboratory and field settings.
  • Processing of a National Agency Check and fingerprinting will be required.
  • Must be able to pass a drug screen and background check.

CSS is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer who provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regards to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or genetic information. In addition to federal law requirements, CSS complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

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