PhD position – focus on microzooplankton

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 microzooplankton).

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’) will investigate how the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming will affect microzooplankton growth and grazing thus altering top-down control effects on phytoplankton. Furthermore, an enhanced feeding competition between micro- and mesozooplankton under elevated temperature and pCO2 conditions as well as the role of microzooplankton in improving the food quality for higher trophic levels will be investigated. The main objective of the present study is to assess grazing activities of natural microzooplankton communities in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the subtropical Atlantic Ocean (off Gran Canaria) using mesocosm approaches. Several intertwined work packages that rely on joint experiments will allow a thorough analysis of food web and ecosystem changes.

We seek a candidate for work package 1.6 ‘The role of microzooplankton as intermediary between microbial and traditional food webs under future ocean acidification and warming scenarios’.

  • The candidate should analyse and interpret microzooplankton data with an emphasis on ciliates and heterotrophic dinoflagellates. The following tasks should be done:
  • Analyse microzooplankton abundance, biomass and taxonomic composition during the mesocosm experiments (microscopy)
  • Analyse heterotrophic nanoflagellate (HNF) communities during the mesocosm experiments using (microscopy and flow-cytometry)
  • Conduct grazing experiments based on dilution techniques (in cooperation with WP 1.8 and 1.10) to quantify grazing impacts of micro- and mesozooplankton on phytoplankton standing stocks (microscopy and HPLC analysis)

The successful candidate will be based at the AWI Helgoland on the Island of Helgoland (North Sea). The station provides excellent facilities for marine field- and laboratory research and offers a highly dynamic working environment. The candidate will obtain the opportunity to subscribe to the Helmholtz graduate school for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’(

Requirements: Diploma/MSc degree in biology, ecology, limnology, environmental science, marine or fisheries sciences. Excellent knowledge in aquatic ecology and/or microzooplankton/protozooplankton ecology is required. 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): salary group 13 (50% minimum). 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 54/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 Dr. Nicole Aberle-Malzahn (

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