Ocean Conservation & Sustainable Fisheries Researcher
Job Search Location(s) United States - Location Negotiable, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
ID 1744
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Ocean Conservation & Sustainable Fisheries Researcher

Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork, and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, biodiversity, and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples, and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.


Conservation International’s Center for Oceans is seeking Ocean Conservation & Sustainable Fisheries Researcher to support an interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at better understanding how to design, implement, manage, and finance large-scale ocean conservation efforts that maximize benefits for both biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries. The Researcher will work very closely with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and conservation practitioners at Conservation International (CI), the Blue Nature Alliance, and the University of California, Santa Barbara to conduct innovative research on the design and management of large-scale ocean conservation efforts, as well as with staff of conservation areas supported by CI, the Blue Nature Alliance, and practitioners to implement research findings on the ground.

The ideal candidate will have an interest and track record in conducting applied science to support conservation efforts and excellent quantitative and modeling skills and an interest and track record in publishing in top academic journals. The Researcher will lead analyses aimed at better understanding how to design, implement, and manage large-scale marine protected areas to maximize benefits for both biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries. This will include developing and leading analyses using various datasets to identify areas for biodiversity conservation and support the development of predictive models that estimate how fishers respond to large-scale closures in pelagic ecosystems. The researcher will work in close collaboration with a multi-disciplinary group of researchers and conservation practitioners, they will lead the development of peer-reviewed scientific publications, presentations, factsheets, and other communication products summarizing the research findings. This will require coordinating and liaising with researchers and conservation practitioners from different institutions, backgrounds, and countries. They will lead and facilitate partnerships, as well as coordinate closely with both internal and external partners.

Other duties may be assigned as needed. This position does not directly manage staff. Work duties are performed under general direction.


  • Provide intellectual, scientific, and project leadership on key research questions related to the design and management of large-scale marine protected areas, with respect to pelagic ecosystems and highly migratory fisheries
  • Lead advanced modeling, data analyses, and syntheses to guide multi-disciplinary partners in project design and implementation.
  • Lead and contribute to peer-reviewed scientific publications.
  • Coordinate, facilitate, and liaise with a multi-disciplinary group of researchers and conservation practitioners from different institutions and countries
  • As applicable, build the capacity of collaborating scientists and science institutions in various countries.
  • Represent CI at external meetings with partners, workshops, and conferences
  • Keep up-to-date on recent scientific literature relevant to large-scale ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries and share relevant literature with the Blue Nature Alliance science team.
  • Participate in the Blue Nature Alliance science team to ensure coordination of research direction with the needs of conservation practitioners working in ocean conservation areas supported by the Blue Nature Alliance.
  • Conduct analyses to support conservation practitioners for real-time decision support in Blue Nature Alliance engagement sites.
  • Contribute to the development of funding proposals and grant applications.
  • Other related duties as assigned.


  • This position is based within the United States, preferably in Santa Barbara, CA. 
  • Work is performed in a typical office environment.
  • Flexibility to travel as needed.
  • Ability to work irregular and extended work hours to meet project deadlines.
  • Guidance on flexible work arrangements will be shared during the interview process.
  • For the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our community, all US-based Conservation International staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This mandatory vaccine requirement applies to all staff working remotely, in a hybrid work arrangement, and on-site in CI US offices. Effective January 4, 2022, new hires will be required to provide proof of full vaccination with a government-approved vaccine as a condition for employment. Requests for reasonable accommodations or exceptions related to medical or religious reasons will be considered. Candidates are NOT required to state their COVID-19 vaccine status in their application.



  • Doctoral degree in conservation, oceanography, marine science, geography, fisheries, or related field, with relevant coursework in biology, spatial ecology, statistics, or GIS.
  • 4 to 6 years of academic or applied research experience in empirical methods or modeling related to marine conservation, fisheries, or a related field. Highly experienced with working with ocean data, including biodiversity, environmental, human use, and other data.
  • Advanced data management, analytical, and spatial data processing skills.
  • Experienced user of R, ArcGIS, and relational database software (e.g. Excel, Access). Some experience using cloud-based computational platforms such as Google Earth Engine, BigQuery, and Compute Engine. Proficient with software systems, terminology, and procedures. Skilled in learning and adapting new software applications.
  • Proficiency using GitHub, and other modern code and data management, sharing, and presentation interfaces.
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing scientific publications and technical reports.
  • Experience building and maintaining partnerships with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to communicate tactfully with people from different cultures who might not speak English as their first language.
  • Team player and ability to effectively partner and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to project manage others, lead without authority, and manage many projects at once.
  • Detail-oriented, patient, and able to meet deadlines.


  • Experience working with marine protected areas, ideally large-scale marine protected areas and/or sustainable fisheries.
  • Experience conducting applied research in close collaboration with people for different backgrounds, disciplines, and countries.
  • Experience securing research funding and grants.
  • Fluency in Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

To apply for this position please submit a resume and cover letter.

See all Conservation International Career Opportunities HERE

Conservation International is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Vets/Disabled

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