PhD scholarship opportunity: Effects of ocean change on oligotrophic coccolithophore communities – Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry, Southern Cross University, Australia

A PhD opportunity exists at the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry, Southern Cross University, Australia (, within the Future Fellowship project ’Future carbon cycling – predicting and understanding coccolithophorid calcification in a changing ocean’.

Coccolithophores, unicellular photoautotrophic marine phytoplankton can be considered special as being involved in both the inorganic and organic carbon pumps by calcification and photosynthesis. The relative strength of both pumps strongly impact atmospheric levels of CO2. Until now, our knowledge on potential responses of coccolithophorid calcification to a changing ocean basically rests on only a handful of species investigated in single-species experiments, usually not including multiple environmental factors. This limits predictability of the environmental changes to be expected in natural coccolithophore assemblages. This fully-funded PhD will take research on the response of coccolithophorid calcification to ocean change to the next level by i) investigating calcification and photosynthesis of entire natural coccolithophore assemblages in response to ocean acidification in mesocosm experiments, and ii) identify the least and most affected species within the coccolithophore communities, and decipher the underlying physiological mechanisms in new and innovative laboratory experiments.

Applicants are required to have an Honours or Master degree in biological oceanography, biogeochemistry, phytoplankton physiology or a closely related field. The PhD scholarship will provide a tax free stipend of $25,392 per annum and tuition fees will be exempt. Funding is for a period of 3 years. Interested applicants should send their CV highlighting their research background in this area to Dr. Kai Schulz ( Only short-listed applicants will be notified. Closing date is July 20, 2014 although may get extended until position is filled. Starting date is as soon as possible.

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