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Research Assistant in the Division of Science, Biology Marine Research Aquarist, Dr. John Burt

New York University Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Job Details


The Burt Lab at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) seeks a Research Assistant (Aquarist) to support our rapidly growing experimental ecophysiology team working on coral and fish responses to environmental stress. Come join our diverse, interdisciplinary team and enjoy the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge coral and fish ecophysiology research in a truly collaborative environment!

The candidate will operate under the supervision of Prof. John Burt, head of the NYUAD Marine Biology Lab, and will be affiliated with the Arabian Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences (ACCESS). In this interdisciplinary research center, which focuses on regional environmental change and where Burt serves as co-PI, the candidate will collaborate closely with researchers across NYUAD units including ACCESS, the Marine Biology Laboratory, the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology (CGSB), the Water Research Center (WRC), and the CITIES Center, thus integrating into a diverse and dynamic team with research spanning genomics and molecular biology to ecosystem-level ecology.

Situated on the Persian/Arabian Gulf, NYUAD provides a unique natural laboratory to study organismal responses to extreme and variable environmental conditions, including annual sea temperatures exceeding 35 C in summer and dropping below 20 C in winter, high salinity levels (44 PSU), and moderate turbidity. Furthermore, NYUAD is within a 3-hour drive to the biogeographically linked Sea of Oman, offering unparalleled opportunities for comparative studies, particularly in climate change research. The Burt Lab is currently expanding its experimental aquarium and mesocosm systems at NYUAD and is collaborating with aquarium infrastructure providers off-campus to support our rapidly growing team of experimental researchers; the research assistant will serve a core function in supporting this research. Research Assistant will work closely with leading scientists and researchers in a dynamic, collaborative environment that is at the cutting edge of marine research. The position will be for two years (potentially renewable depending on performance) and will begin in mid-2024 (between May July), and comes with opportunities for ongoing professional development and participation in international marine biology networks.

Principal Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to facilitate cutting-edge research, ensuring optimal conditions for coral and fish studies

  • Operate and manage a collection of experimental research aquaria across a range of sizes.

  • Maintain various types of aquaria, including closed systems and flow-through systems.

  • Work with light systems, air and mixed gas supply, heaters, chillers, and environmental control mechanisms.

  • Undertake plumbing, tank/sump design, and troubleshooting.

  • Handle life support systems and disease control for aquatic organisms.

  • Support the collection and logging of aquarium-based data for team members.


Qualifications:  The qualifications and experience serve as the primary criteria for selecting candidates:

Required Education, Certifications, Licensing or Training

  • Drivers license

Preferred Education, Certifications, Licensing or Training

  • Bachelor s degree in Biology/Marine Biology or related field (MSc an asset).

  • Boat operator certification

  • Experience in boat-based (ideally diving-based) fieldwork.

Required Work and Related Experience

  • Experience in running, maintaining and modifying aquaria (closed system and/or flow-through)

  • Experience with environmental control (heaters, chillers), plumbing, and tank/sump design for aquaria.

Preferred Work and Related Experience

  • Experience working in a research/academic setting with aquaria

  • Experience with coral spawning and/or larval fish husbandry.

  • Experience with coral reef restoration and/or nurseries

  • SCUBA diving certification (ideally Advanced Diver or higher)

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via Interfolio by 10 December 2023; interviews will be conducted over the following two weeks for those selected. The application should consist of a 1-2 page cover letter elaborating the candidate's background and research interests, as well as how each criterion is met. Also include a detailed curriculum vitae, including contact information for three references.  For any questions, please reach out to Dr. John Burt at

Employment is contingent upon successful completion of security, health, and reference checks, among other HR processes. The position is for a two-year fixed-term contract, potentially renewable subject to performance and funding. The compensation package is highly competitive and fully tax-free, including benefits such as housing allowance, annual flights, healthcare, and provisions for dependents, and the candidate will engage in a supportive work environment that has unparalleled opportunities for professional and personal development. Come join our vibrant research team in the Burt Lab, offering unparalleled research opportunities, professional growth, and a rich cultural experience in a dynamic international setting!


NYU Abu Dhabi is a degree-granting research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science undergraduate program in the Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering. NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, form the backbone of NYU s global network university, an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents that enable seamless international mobility of students and faculty in their pursuit of academic and scholarly activity. This global university represents a transformative shift in higher education, one in which the intellectual and creative endeavors of academia are shaped and examined through an international and multicultural perspective. As a major intellectual hub at the crossroads of the Arab world, NYUAD serves as a center for scholarly thought, advanced research, knowledge creation, and sharing, through its academic, research, and creative activities.

EOE/AA/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Employer

UAE Nationals are encouraged to apply.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

For people in the EU, click here for information on your privacy rights under GDPR:

NYU is an equal opportunity employer committed to equity, diversity, and social inclusion.

Deadline: Dec 12, 2023 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time


NYU's agreement with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to create NYU Abu Dhabi is the outcome of a shared understanding of the essential roles and challenges of higher education in the 21st century: a common belief in the value of a liberal arts education, concurrence on the benefits a research university brings to the society that sustains it, a conviction that interaction with new ideas and people who are different is valuable and necessary, and a commitment to educating students who are true citizens of the world. As the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university, NYU Abu Dhabi has been built on the following principles:

  • NYU Abu Dhabi is a research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science college. It draws students from around the world, and prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of our interconnected world.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor. It fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection. At NYUAD, students extend themselves and the frontiers of knowledge.
  • The residential life of students is central to the University's academic mission. Learning takes place across the campus, not only in classrooms, but also in residential houses, through participation in clubs and sports, during informal campus gatherings, and being engaged with the wider community.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi stimulates advanced research. The NYUAD Institute is a major research center. Research is integral to the undergraduate experience at NYU Abu Dhabi, and it will also drive the University's graduate programs.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York form the backbone of a fully connected global network university. As one of the two major hubs in the global network, NYUAD creates a unique capacity for faculty and students to access the assets of the entire university system.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi advances the city of Abu Dhabi as a magnetic center of ideas and human talent.


NYU Abu Dhabi consists of a highly selective liberal arts and sciences college and a world center for advanced research and scholarship — integrated with each other and connected through technology to NYU New York.

Together, NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York form the backbone of a unique global network university that equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor by fostering curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection.

NYU Abu Dhabi is a central component of Abu Dhabi's vision of becoming a leading world idea capital. For its first four years, the University is located in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi. In 2014, it will move to its permanent home on Saadiyat Island, where it will be joined by neighbors including the Guggenheim, the Louvre, the Zayed National Museum, and a world-class performing arts center.

In working for NYU Abu Dhabi, you will help to build the world's first truly global university and research institute. The University's faculty and staff come from around the world, and the first class of students, who arrived in the fall of 2010, is one of the most geographically diverse student bodies on the planet. To date, NYU Abu Dhabi's staff alone is comprised of individuals from more than 30 different countries. For NYU Abu Dhabi, creating a culture of inclusion contributes not only to our success, but also to the richness of the talented staff that we can attract. When you join us as an employee, we look forward to learning more about your culture and seeing things from your unique viewpoint.

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