Laboratory Research Assistants

Point Blue is looking for two LABORATORY RESEARCH ASSISTANTS for marine predator diet studies, zooplankton research, data-related tasks, and outreach activities at our Petaluma, California Headquarters.

Our studies determine size class and species composition of prey consumed by seabirds and California sea lions, and we examine krill and their relationships with seabirds and other top-predator populations in the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

Main laboratory duties include: identifying otoliths and other fish parts from diet samples (regurgitated pellets and fecal samples) of Brandt’s cormorants, least terns, and California sea lions; identifying zooplankton taxa and sizes from diet samples (regurgitations) of Cassin’s auklets; preparing zooplankton samples and identifying, weighing and measuring krill; collecting species composition and size data on prey specimens dropped on seabird breeding colonies; entering and proofing data; and helping to compile information from 50+ years of seabird studies on the Farallon Islands.

Other duties include: assisting with shopping and transporting supplies to/from local marinas as part of the monthly Farallon Island patrol runs; participating in online outreach activities (mainly Facebook Livesteam events); and training and supervising seasonal interns and laboratory volunteers (pending COVID-19 safety precautions). There may be opportunities for field work, such as participating in at-sea cruises in the Gulf of the Farallones (duties include assisting in net tows, collecting hydrographic data, and conducting seabird and marine mammal surveys), and/or participating in nest surveys of an endangered California least tern colony in San Francisco Bay (duties include walking through colony with permitted biologists, marking nests, collecting data, and collecting diet samples to be analyzed in the lab).

Applicants should enjoy working independently and have plenty of patience for long hours spent looking through a scope to identify cryptic fish earbones and scales, little marine bugs, and contorted, dried-up fish chips.

Education and Experience: 

Preference will be given to candidates who have a degree in biology or related field and prior laboratory research experience.

Compensation and Benefits:

This is a one-year, full-time (40 hours/week) position with benefits and pays $15.40/hour. We anticipate hiring two assistants, with one starting on 5 April 2021, and the other starting on 3 May 2021, although the start and end dates may be negotiable. We offer furnished housing in Petaluma (approximately 3 miles from the office), and a housing cost of $100.92 per pay period (which is bi-weekly) will be deducted from your paycheck to cover utilities and internet.


Safety precautions to avoid the spread of the coronavirus will be followed, including a quarantine period prior to moving in to housing, COVID-19 testing, adhering to safety precautions when in communal areas within the office and when outside of the house (i.e., wearing a mask, staying physically distanced, and washing hands often). Must have your own transportation method to/from the office since transportation is not provided.

How to Apply: 

More information can be found at and Please email a cover letter explaining interests and dates of availability, resume, and names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 3 references to Meredith Elliott ( Applications accepted until position is filled.

Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against qualified applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, citizenship status, disability status, membership or application for membership in a uniformed service or membership in any other class protected by applicable law. We will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and participate in the interview process.