Ocean Career: Marine Habitats Ecologist & Surveyor at NatureScot

By taking a central role in coordinating and undertaking our seabed habitat monitoring, assessment and reporting programmes, the Marine Habitats Ecologist & Surveyor will work in a small team to develop and deliver NatureScot’s approach to marine biodiversity monitoring under the Scottish MPA Monitoring Strategy.

The three positions available would suit appropriately qualified marine ecologists with a good understanding of benthic habitats and experience in employing a range of survey techniques. We will be looking to ensure we balance the key responsibilities and accountabilities across the team post recruitment e.g. one person will be required to act as NatureScot’s dive officer.

There are two permanent, full-time posts available within NatureScot’s Marine Ecosystems team. We have also secured funding for an additional (third) post until March 2026. The successful applicants will work closely within our wider team of marine ecologists and other specialists within NatureScot, while liaison with a wide range of partner organisations will also be important. There will be opportunities to input into research and partnerships aimed at developing knowledge and co-operation in key areas within our remit.

37% of Scotland’s seas are designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Scottish Government’s step change in marine protection will ensure that the MPA network is managed effectively by 2024 with supplementary measures outside the network introduced by 2026. The successful candidates will play a key part in NatureScot’s ongoing work to chart the health of Scotland’s seas and progress towards the Scottish Governments vision of heathy, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environments.

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities:

  • Contribute to the delivery of the Scottish MPA Monitoring Strategy working within a small team to plan and fulfil NatureScot’s seabed habitat monitoring and surveillance programmes.
  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for monitoring activities, populate corporate monitoring databases and update NatureScot’s benthic content on UKDMOS
  • Conceive, commission and manage research projects (including the QA of submitted products) primarily, but not exclusively, in relation to the survey and assessment of MPAs and Priority Marine Features (PMFs) in Scottish inshore waters.
  • Participate in (and lead as required) marine biological surveys using a range of field and remote sampling techniques.
  • Support monitoring undertaken by citizen scientists through the provision of technical and specialist advice.
  • Analyse and interpret marine biodiversity data, including through the use of GIS, to underpin the provision of ecological advice and assessments of
  • Represent NatureScot at meetings of inter-agency groups and research project steering groups relevant to remit.
  • Manage and maintain our marine survey equipment, while ensuring compliance with all relevant health and safety legislation.
  • Contribute to the general work of the Marine Ecosystems Activity Team including work on Marine Protected Areas, Priority Marine Features, awareness raising and training.
  • Update and maintain the content of our marine survey and monitoring web pages and actively promote our work to a range of audiences across Scotland.


  • A degree in a relevant subject plus relevant post-graduate or work experience
  • A sound understanding of marine ecology. In particular the habitats and species of conservation importance in Scottish inshore waters and the issues and legislation relating to their conservation.
  • Experience of techniques & methods applicable to mapping and monitoring the Scottish marine environment, with the ability to identify common benthic habitats and species and an understanding of the UK marine habitat classification (biotopes).
  • Formal qualifications and applied experience of scientific diving (CMAS 3* or equivalent) and small boat handling (RYA powerboat level 2 or above).
  • Ability to analyse, interpret and manage scientific information - including experience of data handling, image analysis & annotation, modelling and applying statistical methods.
  • Experience in the use of GIS.
  • Experience of developing and maintaining positive working relationships with stakeholders, such as agencies, organisations, community groups, industry or government.
  • Ability to communicate science in writing to a range of audiences, including ability to edit and QA research reports.
  • Good interpersonal skills including excellent communication and team working.
  • Ability to plan and manage projects and personal workloads and adapt to changing priorities while balancing a high volume of reactive work.
  • Driving license or other means of transport (relevant driving licence entitlement for towing small boats / trailers with practical experience also desirable).


  • Proof of right to work in UK
  • To undertake a Disclosure Scotland application.
  • Although Gaelic language is not a prerequisite it is a desirable skill in support of our commitment to our Gaelic Language Plan.

Location: Inverness, UK
Application deadline: October 5, 2022

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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