PhD position – focus on ecological genetics of copepods

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), division of “Biosciences”, section “Shelf Seas Systems Ecology”, is seeking to appoint within the framework of the BMBF funded ‘Verbundprojekt’ BIOACID phase II, consortium 1 a PhD candidate (f/m) with a focus on ecological genetics of copepods.

Description: Located within the framework of BIOACID II (Biological Impacts of Ocean ACIDification,, consortium 1 (‘Pelagic ecosystems under ocean acidification: ecological, biogeochemical, and evolutionary responses’) we want to investigate how mesozooplankton is affected by ocean acidification in different ecosystems. The effects can be either (a) of a direct nature by e.g. changes in physiology and metabolism associated to increases in CO2 or decreases in pH, or (b) indirect ones, for example based on altered elemental and biochemical composition of autotroph production and trophic interactions. 

Several intertwined work packages that rely on joint mesocosms experiments will allow a thorough analysis of food web and ecosystem changes.

We seek a candidate for work package 1.14 ‘Adaptations to Ocean Acidification in mesozooplankton’. We are pursuing the following objectives:

  • To investigate the genetic variation within copepod populations with respect to Ocean Acidification in mesocosms experiments
  • To investigate variation an local adaptation in copepods trough common garden experiments
  • To carry out selection experiments

This is a joint project between the AWI Helgoland on the Island of Helgoland (experimental analyses) and the University of Koblenz Landau (genetics). The candidate will obtain the opportunity to enrol in the Helmholtz graduate school for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ (
Diploma/MSc degree in biology, ecology, genetics, limnology, environmental science, marine or fisheries sciences. We expect a strong interest in general ecological questions and some experience in carrying out and analyzing ecological experiments including general statistics. A good knowledge in written and spoken English is expected. The candidate should be prepared to participate in several expeditions.
The position is limited to 3 years, the salary will be in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst (TVöD Bund). Official starting date for this position is September 1st, 2012. The availability of the position is subject to the final funding decision, which is expected for summer 2012.
The AWI aims to increase the number of female employees within the scientific staff and especially invites female scientists to apply for the position. Handicapped applicants with comparable qualifications receive preferential status. Please see the notification on our homepage under job_offers/jobs.
AWI supports balanced work-life career development via a variety of schemes.
To apply for the position, please cite the code 56/D/Bio and send your application by June 29th, 2012, to:
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research, Personnel Department, P.O. Box 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
or by email (all documents merged into one PDF file) to: Petra.Breyer(at)
Questions regarding the project should be directed to Prof. Dr. Maarten Boersma (Maarten.Boersma(at) or Prof. Dr. Klaus Schwenk (schwenk(at)

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