Joshua M. Copus Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship: Biodiversity Informatics and Computational Biology

May 07 2020
Bishop Museum |Honolulu|Full Time
Job Description

In collaboration with five other national museums, was awarded an NSF Thematic Collections Network grant to develop comprehensive online resources that will enable time-sensitive assessment of the systematics and conservation status of Pacific Island land snails (PILS). This will involve: 1) mobilizing and enhancing records for 3.6 million specimens (e.g., georeferencing, imaging of primary types etc.) and 2) providing newly digitized records for more than 130,000 additional specimens. The digitization project will facilitate systematic and biodiversity research within two Pacific Island biodiversity hotspots to better understand patterns and changes in tropical island biogeography, evolution, and ecology, at multiple temporal and spatial scales. It will also provide the baseline for assessing the establishment and continued spread of invasive species, a major threat to endemic Pacific Island land snail faunal and ecosystem stability. The Malacology collection at Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum seeks highly qualified applicants for an NSF-funded postdoctoral position in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology to join the team in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.


Duties and Responsibilities


  • Works directly with a network of museum researchers from six major research museums (Bishop Museum, The Field Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel, Florida Museum of Natural History, Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan) to catalog, digitize, aggregate, and make accessible specimen information and resources for Pacific Island land snails.
  • Leads the development and implementation of an online portal (e.g. Symbiota) for museum data aggregation and assist in taxonomic and nomenclatural evaluations of Pacific Island land snails.
  • Understands international biodiversity informatics standards (particularly DarwinCore)
  • Coordinates and communicates with national and international biodiversity informatics initiatives, including Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Catalog of Life, World Register of Marine Species, and others as appropriate.
  • Involved in training and outreach components of the project, including training students from underrepresented groups in STEM in modern taxonomy and museum studies, and producing exhibit and educational outreach material including digital identification guides of Pacific Island land snails that will include information on biology, taxonomy and evolution.
  • Develops independent aspects of his or her own research at the museum and in collaboration with team members.
  • Works with other collections staff at the museum as needed to fulfill museum mission.





  • Proven record of relevant training and achievement in biodiversity informatics, digital resource management, and computational biology.
  • Skills and experience necessary to assist in developing and maintaining biodiversity informatics tools and organizing digital resources, including cleaning up and normalizing existing data content, consolidating independent collections and research databases into a central, unified system, creation of collaborative museum-wide shared authorities (Agents, Geography, Taxonomy and References), integration of vouchered (specimen) and unvouchered (observation, image, and publication-based) organism occurrence records and media integration.
  • Experience in taxonomy and systematics, as well as taxonomic knowledge of gastropods is preferred
  • Doctoral degree (Ph.D., or equivalent) is required, with bioinformatics, computational biology, or related field preferred.
  • Experience in software development, computational biology, and biodiversity and collections digitization preferred.
  • Knowledge and experience with data management software (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server), web development platforms (especially Microsoft frameworks, including .NET Core), and coding (e.g., C#, Pearl, Python, R) preferred.
  • Highly motivated, well-organized, and creative.


Other Requirements


  • Professional and appropriate dress for the job at hand (office, laboratory, field)
  • Good attendance
  • Detail-oriented
  • Flexibility in schedule to meet deadlines
  • Desire to learn and work hard


Direct Reports




Working Conditions


Laboratory work environment may involve exposure to fumes, noxious odors, and gases from the mounting and preservation media, as well as dust and mold from the specimens themselves.  Field work may involve exposure to high altitudes and wet conditions.