Marie Curie Position for an Early-Stage Researcher in Kiel


Environmental and physiological controls of calcification in fish and cephalopods


The Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) at the University of Kiel is one of the leading institutes in marine research in Germany. The major goal of the institute is research and development in all parts of marine sciences. Apart from basic research, applied projects between science and economy are also supported. IFM-GEOMAR is a foundation by public law, jointly funded by the federal und provincial government. The institute is a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL) and the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM).

IFM-GEOMAR is coordinator and member of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network CalMarO (Calcification by Marine Organisms). CALMARO aims at improving the career perspectives of early researchers by offering structured training in the field of Calcification by Marine Organisms as well as providing complementary skills and exposing the researchers to other sectors including private companies. CALMARO comprises investigation of calcareous structures as well as calcification processes and the sensitivities to changes in environmental conditions at all scales ranging from cellular, organism, population to ecosystem, and regional to global levels.

We are looking for an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) to study the environmental and physiological controls of calcification in fish and cephalopods.

Otoliths, scales and bones are calcified tissues found in fish, and statoliths and gladii are the calcified structures in cephalopods. Although evolutionary convergence may result in similarities in form and function, the physiological solutions of forming calcified structure can vary. Otolith growth is relatively well understood through ultrastructure studies, but statolith and cephalopod hard structure biomineralization is less well known. Research on otolith growth has been driven by interest in using primary or presumed daily increments to indicate age, especially in larval fish. Likewise, the increasing interest in age determination of cephalopods using statolith increments poses the inevitable question of whether the growth of these analogous structures is regulated by similar mechanisms and how environmental and physiological control are functioning and interacting in both animal groups.

Larval fish and cephalopods of different developmental stages will be cultured under varying food, light, pH and temperature regimes. Length-weight relationships and RNA/DNA ratios will be used as a measure of physiological condition and related to recent otolith/statolith growth. The biomineralization mechanisms in otoliths and statoliths will be compared by examination of the chemical processes and physiological control of biogenic aragonite and organic matrix formation. Histochemical and ultrastructural (SEM and TEM) techniques will be used to characterise the nature of the organic and inorganic components. Analytical measurements of the relative concentrations of organic matrix versus inorganic component will be made for both the endolymph fluid and the dissolved and centrifuged otoliths and statoliths at a global level and using Raman spectrometry at a fine spatial scale on otolith and statolith sections. This will contribute to the numerical modelling of otolith and statolith formation.

The ESR will be mainly employed at IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany with a stay of about 11 months duration at the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway as well as a short secondment at a commercial fish hatchery in Brekke, Norway. The ESR will be integrated in a multi-disciplinary research effort involving molecular biologists, physiologists, marine biologists and biological oceanographers.

The IFM-GEOMAR seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and therefore women are especially encouraged to apply. IFM-GEOMAR also supports the employment of disabled persons. Persons with disabilities will, with appropriate qualifications and aptitudes, be employed preferentially.

Applicants must have a Masters Degree or equivalent in fishery biology, marine biology, marine chemistry, biological oceanography, aquaculture or related disciplines, be able to communicate in English, and have not more than 4 years full-time equivalent research experience. Candidates can originate from anywhere in the world except Germany and Norway and should not have resided in these two countries for more than 12 months during the previous 3 years. Candidates should have an interest to interact in a multi-disciplinary research environment. The successful candidate will be given the opportunity to complete a Ph.D. thesis in 3 years.

The appointment will be full-time initially for 6 months, which will be extended to 3 years provided that the applicant has proven to be well suited for the job. The project will start in January/ February 2009.

The starting annual gross salary will be 34307 € plus extras (mobility, travel and career allowances).

For further information please see or contact Dr. Catriona Clemmesen ( or Prof. Audrey Geffen (

Written applications using “CALMARO-RT6” as keyword, including a current CV, short research outline and reference contacts should be sent before 31/10/2008 to Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), Personalbüro, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany, or via email to


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