Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Ocean acidification: a physiological and environmental challenge for marine calcifiers

Contact. Dr Mary Sewell, Dr Anthony Hickey and Professor Gretchen Hofmann.

Ocean acidification (OA) has been described as “the other CO2 problem”, “global warming’s evil twin” and “a meltdown tinged with acid”. Given that one third of humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide are absorbed by the world’s oceans, OA will be one of the most important stressors facing marine ecosystems of the future. Under the OA conditions predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007), organisms with calcium carbonate skeletons (e.g. coccoliths, corals, molluscs, sea urchins) will suffer significantly from increased costs to the growth and maintenance of skeletal structures, and/or the dissolution of their skeletons.

We are advertising a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden funded Post-doctoral fellowship to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification on sea urchins. Recent work by our group has found that larvae cultured in OA conditions show down-regulation of several genes involved in aerobic metabolism (Todgham and Hofmann 2009, J. Exp. Biol. 212: 2579; O’Donnell et al. 2010, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 398: 157). Not only do these changes illustrate detrimental impacts of OA on a marine calcifier, but they also parallel changes seen in human disease states. Using the early developmental stages of the New Zealand sea urchin Evechinus chloroticus we wish to more thoroughly explore the impacts of ocean acidification on larval development, metabolism and survival. We will apply multiple advanced techniques that range from transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic tools in combination with analysis of whole animal (respirometry) and subcellular metabolism (mitochondriology) and comparison of larval development in face of elevated pCO2.

For the successful candidate this project brings a unique opportunity to learn and employ multiple skills and disciplines ranging from molecular to whole animal physiology. Therefore we wish to employ a Post-doctoral level researcher with basic molecular skills and perhaps, more importantly, a solid understanding of ecological physiology and biochemistry.

This project will be conducted as a collaboration between the University of Auckland, New Zealand (under the supervision and support of Drs Mary Sewell and Anthony Hickey), and the University of California, Santa Barbara (with Professor Gretchen Hofmann). The fellowship will initially be for 18 months at the Lecturer 1 Level ($NZ 70,038) with the possibility of extension. Start date is for the austral spring (mid Sept-Oct) by negotiation.

For further information of this exciting collaborative opportunity please contact Dr. Mary Sewell ( or Dr. Anthony Hickey (

Applications should include a CV, cover letter and the names of 3 references to by August 1st 2010.

Details of the job opening, including information on the University of Auckland and living in New Zealand are available on the University web site:
The University of Auckland, More information and applying: (JOB ID 12148).

1 Response to “Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Ocean acidification: a physiological and environmental challenge for marine calcifiers”

  1. 1 kunshan Gao 12 September 2010 at 04:10

    I am leading a Chinese group working on pankton responses to OA, wondering if we can develop some academic exchanges.

    Kunshan Gao (Ph.D., Kyoto Univ., 1989)
    Distinguished Professorship
    State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science,
    Xiamen University ,
    Daxue Road 182 (HAIYANG-LOU)
    Xiamen , Fujian , 361005, China ;
    Tel. 86-592-2187982
    Fax: 86-592-2187963
    Web page:

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