The Bay Area Environmental Research (BAER) Institute is seeking a full-time postdoctoral researcher to perform measurements of nitrogen cycling in photosynthetic microbial mats at NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC), located at Moffett Field, CA. These measurements are directed at better understanding the role of nitrogen cycling over geologic time on Earth, as well as the application of that knowledge in the search of life elsewhere. More information on the BAER Institute can be found at

The employee will be part of the Microbial Ecology and Biogeochemistry Research Laboratory (see for details) organizationally located in the Exobiology Branch (see within the Space Sciences and Astrobiology Division at NASA ARC. Multiple laboratories available to the project at NASA ARC contain an extensive set of instruments for biogeochemical measurements of intact microbial mats, as well as measurements of microbial physiology and algal and cyanobacterial photophysiology. For more information about the project, please contact the Principal Investigator – Dr. Brad Bebout (

This is a 2-year position. 

Duties and Responsibilities

The researcher will conduct a comprehensive examination and quantification of the N cycle in photosynthetic microbial mats by integrating biogeochemical measurements, including stable-isotope tracer experiments, and a multifaceted molecular biology approach, including metagenomics, meta-transcriptomics, and targeted amplicon sequencing. These methods will be applied across a combination of both freshly collected mats, and mats subjected to experimental manipulations representing current and ancient-Earth environmental conditions. Biogeochemical measurements and stable isotope tracer techniques performed by the researcher will result in the complete quantification of the N cycle (sources, sinks, and internal transformations).

Minimum Qualifications

Ph.D. in biology, molecular ecology, biogeochemistry, or related field is required.

Preferred Qualifications

Prior experience in stable isotope labeling techniques is desired.

Additional Provisions

  • Interested applicants who reside outside of the San Francisco Bay Area must be willing to relocate within commuting distance of NASA ARC at their own expense.
  • The individual selected for this position must be able to pass a security clearance.
  • Some travel may be required to perform field work at our primary field site in Baja, California, Mexico.


Year 1: $73,866

Year 2: $77,559

Citizenship Requirement

Must be U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, or Foreign National eligible for either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.

How to Apply

Submit a cover letter and CV to the BAER Institute at In your cover letter, please specify that you are applying for the researcher position in the Microbial Ecology and Biogeochemistry Research Lab. All candidates must also provide a list of publications, and a list of at least 3 people willing to provide letters of reference.

Application packages must be received by no later than December 22, 2018.

Desired start date: January 14, 2019

Additional Details

BAER Institute is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, medical condition, gender identity, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected status.

If you have a disability that requires accommodation, please contact Donna Turnley of the BAER Institute Human Resources Office at


Included Benefits: 

The job benefits include medical, dental, vision, life, short-term and long-term disability insurance, a 403b defined contribution plan for which BAER Institute contributes 10% of the employee’s gross salary, eligibility for participation in optional 403b tax-deferred annuity plan, 10 paid holidays, 8 hours of paid sick leave per month, and 3 weeks of vacation per year through accrual of 10 hours of vacation leave per month.

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Selection Deadline: 
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants

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