Marine Ecologist, Science Synthesis and Strategy Specialist

Vancouver, BC

The Opportunity

Global perspectives on marine ecosystems are shifting towards a holistic view where these systems are regarded as integral to solving pressing environmental issues like climate change, social justice, and navigating trade-offs in cumulative multidimensional interactions. As an established marine ecologist specializing in science synthesis and strategy, you will work on projects at the nexus of coastal and marine conservation, marine spatial planning, cumulative effects assessment, climate change adaptation, monitoring, and decision-support systems. This work often involves supporting Indigenous clients and participants in collaborative and co-managed stewardship of marine ecosystems.

To be considered, your training and skills will include a (1) a strong pre-existing knowledge base related to marine and coastal socio-ecological systems and management issues (particularly in British Columbia, though knowledge of other temperate and tropical marine ecosystems is also an asset) and familiarity with contemporary literature on these topics; (2) exceptionally efficient organizational, research, critical thinking skills; (3) superb writing skills to harvest and mobilize knowledge from multiple sources to inform science syntheses (e.g., state of knowledge reports, risk and vulnerability assessments), deliver strategic advice (e.g., conservation, monitoring, and resource management plans), and co-author peer-reviewed manuscripts; (4) well-developed people skills and confidence in client-facing roles, including in Indigenous contexts, to assist in rightsholder and stakeholder engagement (e.g., via delivering presentations or facilitating meetings, interviews, and workshops) and (5) contribute to developing relationships and prospecting and developing new project opportunities with clients.

This is a full-time opportunity based in Vancouver. You will have access to our staff benefits, which offer competitive compensation, medical benefits, flexible working arrangements (hybrid workplace, temporary work abroad periods, and opportunities for future home office placement), support for professional development, interoffice travel support to visit colleagues outside of Vancouver and Ottawa, and three weeks of paid vacation plus paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

About Us

ESSA Technologies Ltd. (ESSA) is an employee-owned Canadian environmental consulting company with offices in British Columbia and Ontario. We envision a world where creativity, a focus on learning, and systems thinking are the foundation of innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Our corporate mission is to “bring together people, science and analytical tools to sustain healthy ecosystems and human communities”. We achieve this mission by helping clients deal with tough, emerging problems, applying a neutral, thorough evaluation of evidence, encouraging diverse participatory processes, and collaboratively guiding our clients to make informed decisions that are designed to learn over time. Learn more about us at

At ESSA, we are passionate about what we do and enjoy working with professionals who share our values and mission. ESSA’s staff are purpose-driven problem solvers, big-picture critical thinkers, evidence-driven and motivated by an aspiration to become trusted advisors to our clients and make a difference in the world. In pursuing our corporate mission, we are inclusive of a diversity of perspectives and ways of knowing among both our staff and our clients that may vary depending on experience, race, gender identity, age, disability status, sexual orientation, and religion amongst others.

As part of ESSA’s team, you will be surrounded by a rich intellectual inheritance, and colleagues committed to collaboration and team-building that are:

  • ·Working on wide-ranging interdisciplinary problems focused on complex interactions in socio-ecological systems, taking a holistic rather than reductionist perspective in organizing and understanding knowledge and data,
  • Delivering rigorous and clear advice to our clients and internally to our own staff, and
  • Resolving scientific uncertainty by combining analytical methods and technical facilitation, often within an Adaptive Management mindset.

With offices in British Columbia and Ontario, we acknowledge that our offices are on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish People (the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations) in Vancouver, and the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People in Ottawa. We acknowledge that we also work in the territories of other Indigenous Nations across Canada and the world.

Your Responsibilities

This position will involve in-depth project delivery work and business development support where you will intermittently lead projects/initiatives and support other members of our team. In the marine socio-ecological system context your role will focus on gathering diverse knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, where you will apply your expertise and critical thinking to swiftly extract key insights, then mobilize this knowledge through strategic plans or provision of advice that our clients can directly apply in their ongoing marine research, monitoring, and management. These challenges and their solutions span many areas of expertise, including marine spatial planning, marine protected areas, climate change adaptation, fisheries and aquatic resource management, ecosystem restoration, environmental and cumulative impact assessment, and the development of decision support tools.

As part of transdisciplinary project teams, you will also have the opportunity to work on diverse and multifaceted problems that provide ample opportunities for learning and growth while helping our clients and collaborators to make informed decisions regarding natural resource management in ocean spaces.

This position will involve playing both leadership and supporting roles in both project work and business development. We outline some example responsibilities below:

Project Work:

  • Working on projects spanning a range of human contexts and ecosystems, with a focus on marine ecosystems in North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
  • Applying a holistic mindset grounded in the recognition of cumulative effects and systems thinking to the development and undertaking of projects, with an emphasis on the relationships among human and ecological components.
  • Searching for, gathering, and curating diverse forms of knowledge and information (e.g., key literature, policies, datasets, lived experience and oral histories, etc.) in support of project goals.
  • Conducting strategic vulnerability, risk, and impact assessments as well as cumulative effects assessments related to human activities, climate change, and other environmental stressors, with an emphasis on aspects of the natural environment (e.g., biodiversity, seascapes, waterways, landscapes, waterways, natural assets, natural resources, and ecosystem services).
  • Developing strategic ‘state of knowledge’ reviews drawing on local knowledge and global best practices and applying these to the development of tailored ecological monitoring, research, or management strategies relevant to local client contexts.
  • Planning and facilitating interviews, workshops, and meetings, including technical workshops as well as community engagement meetings for knowledge gathering, co-development, or training.
  • Providing technical leadership and direction in project design, including scoping and defining methods and work plans for teams to execute on.
  • Reporting on project progress and results through workshops, client meetings, and public-facing science communication products using strong written and verbal science communication skills.
  • Occasionally travelling to attend and participate in short-term client meetings, workshops, site visits, and conferences in Canada and abroad (no environmental fieldwork).
  • Managing projects and budgets.
  • Mentoring other ESSA staff working on complex technical projects, skills sharing, and enabling other individuals to do their best and grow.

Client Relationship & Business Development:

  • Contributing to business development efforts including generating marketing materials, attending conferences, proposal writing, including co-development of grant proposals for Indigenous clients.
  • Building and maintaining good relationships with our clients and collaborators.
  • Organizing project research for effective future use by the ESSA team.
  • You already possess a Master’s degree or possess or are about to complete a Ph.D. degree in ecology, biology, resource management, or environmental sciences.
  • You possess a strong pre-existing knowledge base related to marine and coastal socio-ecological systems and management issues (particularly in British Columbia, though knowledge of other temperate and tropical marine ecosystems is considered an asset) and deep familiarity with contemporary literature on these topics. Your experience should have already at least exposed or better immersed you in issues pertaining to marine spatial planning, risk assessment (especially in relation to maritime vessels), cumulative effects assessment, and/or capacity strengthening in developing indigenous nations.
  • We envision that the responsibilities of this role can be handled by and will be rewarding to an intermediate applicant – i.e., individuals who have at least 3 years of relevant professional work experience outside of an academic setting (i.e., excluding post doc assignments or other while-at-University posts and contracts exclusively for University clients), most preferably in private consulting or government roles with a strong research, exceptional writing/editing, and public engagement focus.
  • You possess exceptional research and technical and plain-language report writing abilities and consider yourself to be a master of your craft in this arena – you are a sleuth that enjoys the detective work of tracking down, filtering, assembling evidence from diverse new and existing bodies of knowledge; this detective work is not “beneath you”.
  • You have experience working on a diverse range of issues in natural resource management, for instance, one or more of: (1) aquatic sciences (e.g., water management, fisheries management, marine spatial planning, ecosystem restoration planning); (2) climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessments; (3) environmental cumulative effects/impact assessments and/or (4) data sciences/statistics (e.g., monitoring design, qualitative data analysis, simulation modelling).
  • You are a strategic thinker that organically sees the bigger picture as more than the sum of these parts; and you are a natural communicator who enjoys the challenge of distilling these complex ideas through concise, engaging, and accessible writing and narratives into their most essential elements to answer applied ecological and resource management questions, tell compelling stories, and mobilize knowledge to action.
  • You have advanced proficiency with fundamental software skills and tools used in professional settings, including document mastery for developing complex multi-authored reports and other work products using the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams) and Google Suite (Calendar, Drive, Docs, etc.) as well as experience using virtual collaboration software (MURAL, Mentimeter, SurveyMonkey, Zoom, etc.).

Please note: In light of our teaming needs (the successful candidate will be reporting to other project leads and assigned intermediate level tasks), we are very unlikely to consider candidates with more than 12 years’ experience following obtaining their Master’s or Ph.D.

Your differentiating skills may include the following:

  • Experience working with First Nations people on conservation or resource management issues.
  • While you must have at least 3 years of relevant professional work experience outside of an academic setting (i.e., excluding post doc assignments or other while-at-University posts and contracts exclusively for University clients), prior experience specifically in a non-solo freelance private consulting environment, research institute or not for profit organization is a strong asset.
  • Spatial data mapping and analysis skills using R, ArcGIS, or QGIS, particularly using marine datasets.
  • Visual science communication skills including advanced data visualization in R, illustration of original figures or infographics in Adobe Illustrator, and/or video editing in Premiere Pro).
  • Registration or eligibility for registration with the College of Applied Biologists or other equivalent professional designation within six months.
  • Proficiency in Spanish or French.

We look forward to welcoming the successful candidate to our team. We offer a welcoming, inclusive workplace and commit to working with staff to help them thrive and prosper. Our total rewards program for employees provides competitive compensation, medical benefits, flexible working arrangements, and vacation, plus support for ongoing professional development.

Please email a cover letter, résumé to by June 17, 2024 with “Marine Ecologist” in the subject line. We will review applications and contact selected candidates by June 21, 2024. Interviews will be conducted between July 4 – 8. 2024. The target start is August 6, 2024.

All applicants must be eligible to legally work in British Columbia at the time of applying.

Independent industry bench-marked starting base salary range: $75,000 (lower qualifications and experience) -to- $100,500 (95th+ percentile qualifications and experience relative to the requirements detailed in the job description above).