PhD position in Marine Ecology with special focus on impact of climate change research

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic biologist with a bachelor’s or Masters degree in Biology or the equivalent. The Department of Marine Ecology has vibrant research and teaching programmes spread across three campuses: in the city of Gothenburg and at two research stations, one in Tjärnö close to the town of Strömstad, and the other in Kristineberg, Fiskebäckskil. The PhD student will be placed at the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences, Kristineberg in Fiskebäckskil (120 km north of Gothenburg).

The Department of Marine Ecology has broad research interests in a variety of specializations including ocean acidification and the evolution, development and reproductive ecology of marine invertebrates. This 4-year (max) PhD studentship is a full-time salaried position within the Faculty. The applicant will be expected to start in the summer or autumn 2009. The PhD position is for a maximum of four years full-time study. Current starting salary is 21,200 SEK per month. PhD studies include 120 credits (1 credit = 1 week) of thesis work and 40 credits of courses and literature studies. The position can be combined with teaching duties (up to 20% FTE per year), in which case the duration of appointment will be prolonged pro rata.

Impact of climate change on marine animals

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are making the oceans more acidic. In the last 150 years, fossil fuel burning has caused the pH of the oceans to fall by 0.1 units – a seemingly small change, but one that is equivalent to a 30% increase in acidity.

By the year 2100 it is reliably estimated that oceanic pH will be ~ 0.4 units lower than at present (equivalent to a 3x increase in acidity). In addition we have the effects of rising temperatures that will occur in parallel with acidification to consider. Unfortunately, until now very few studies have investigated the effects of these changes on coastal marine ecosystems, and the data that do exist suggest that delicate early life-history stages may be particularly susceptible. However there is also a view that these stages might have an inherent plasticity that allows them to deal with certain levels of environmental stress. It is important that these kinds of issues are now addressed. This project will assess the impacts of global warming and decreases in ocean pH on of the whole life cycle of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, a key species of marine invertebrate in Swedish coastal waters.

The 4 year project could include a range of techniques such as molecular biology (In Situ Hybridization, Real Time PCR, etc.), advanced microscopy (confocal, SEM, Raman spectroscopy, etc.) and immunocytochemistry, ecophysiology (respiration, feeding, etc.), behaviour, adult and larval culture, and manipulation of seawater chemistry.

Collaborations are already established with laboratories in Kiel, Germany and Duke University, USA and it is expected that the student will have opportunities to visit these laboratories

Qualification requirements

A bachelor’s or Masters degree in Biology with a major in molecular or evolutionary biology, integrative physiology, marine ecology or the equivalent. We are seeking an independent, creative and motivated PhD student with an analytical mind and interest in the impacts of climate change. Experience of molecular and physiological techniques, larval and adult animal cultures would be an advantage. Good oral and written English communication skills are required.

Information about the position is available from Professor Mike Thorndyke, Tel
# +46-523-185 54, e-mail: mike.thorndyke (at)

Written applications should be sent to:
Prof. Mike Thorndyke,
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences & Dept. Marine Ecology
Göteborg University
Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences – Kristineberg
SE-450 34 Fiskebäckskil

Applications: should include a complete CV, a letter describing the applicant’s motivation for applying (one page limit), copies of diplomas and transcripts of academic record copy of passport or ID-card, and other relevant documents the applicant wish to refer to (all attested).

In addition we ask for the names and contact details for two academic referees who might be approached for reference purposes.

The application has to be received no later than April 24, 2009.
Please mark the application with ref nr E 334 4646/08 – MarineEcology
Union representatives
: SACO Martin Björkman, tel +46 31-786 3608, SEKO
Lennart Olsson, tel +46 31-786 1173, OFR-S Astrid Igerud, tel +46 31-786 1167.

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