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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Research Associate to join the Barry and Seltzer labs in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.


The Earth’s surface is rich in volatile elements (e.g., H, C, N), providing the unique conditions that sustain life on our planet. However, the origin of terrestrial volatiles remains enigmatic, with considerable debate and uncertainty surrounding regarding volatile source(s) and the overall timing of planetary accretion. Analyzing the composition of primordial gases emanating from Earth’s mantle represents one of the best avenues to determine the origin of terrestrial volatiles. The Yellowstone–Columbia River volcanic mega-province is one of the few volcanic localities on Earth where pristine, plume-derived magmatic gas reaches the surface and can be easily collected for analysis. Geochemical data from previous studies in Yellowstone suggest that gas vents are sourced from a deep-seated mantle plume, that is dominantly chondritic in origin. In this project, a comprehensive study of gas emissions from Yellowstone National Park (YNP) will be conducted. The aims are to: (i) investigate the nature and extent of the Yellowstone plume’s interaction with the Archean-aged crustal basement, which will provide further insight into (ii) the source of the YNP plume, and the (iii) processes acting to obfuscate mantle source signals. Specifically, the proposed research will constrain the composition of YNP magmatic gases and their parental plume mantle source with unprecedented spatial and analytical resolution.


The internal working title for this position could be either Research Associate II or Research Associate III. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate’s level of education & experience. 

Essential Functions

The research associate will employ static noble gas mass spectrometry techniques (in the Barry Lab), clumped N isotope measurements (in the Young Lab at UCLA) and the high-precision (sub per mil) dynamic mass spectrometry measurements of Ar, Kr, and Xe isotopes in magmatic gas (in the Seltzer Lab) to deconvolve mantle, crustal and atmospheric endmembers and to place firmer constraints on the origin of volatiles in the Yellowstone plume, which will help pinpoint the origin of volatiles on Earth. The position requires mass spectrometry experience and will entail lab work generating the aforementioned data. There is an expectation that the person hired will lead publication(s) from the study in peer reviewed journals. There will be opportunities to present findings at international conferences and opportunities to participate in field campaigns.



  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

RA II: Master’s degree in a specifically related field with minimal relevant experience, or Bachelor’s degree in a related field with several years of relevant experience.  A Research Associate II will have demonstrated initial competence in one or more specialized areas of science or research support. The opportunity exists for assumption of increased technical and/or managerial responsibilities based on the continued development of expertise.


RA III: Ph.D. in a related field, or Master’s in a related field with several years of relevant experience, or Bachelor’s in a related field with more than five years of experience. In the absence of a formal degree, considerable equivalent work experience is required. Successful candidates will have demonstrated the technical skill, motivation, independence, and creativity necessary to complete difficult tasks.

Special Requirements

WHOI is a federal contractor required to comply with Executive Order 14042. As such, WHOI has enacted a Mandated COVID19 vaccination policy effective December 8, 2021 where you must register your vaccination status in order to begin your employment. The registration process entails confidentially submitting a vaccination card and/or your vaccination status or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason.  

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Must be able to work in a lab setting, alone and with others. Physical duties are subject to change.

WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email for assistance.