PhD Fellow in Arctic Zooplankton Diversity Related to Functional Traits

Job position in the Nansen Legacy

The position

The Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE) has position available as PhD fellow in Arctic zooplankton diversity related to functional traits. The position is attached to the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (AMB) and the research group Arctic Marine System Ecology (AMSE).

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The position’s field of research

Knowledge about the structure and biological drivers of zooplankton community variability is essential for understanding the dynamics of pelagic ecosystems. A novel method to gain this knowledge is the “trait-based approach” to marine ecosystem dynamics. A trait is a well-defined, measurable property of organisms, and a functional trait is one that strongly influences organismal performance and fitness, such as body size, energy reserves and feeding mode. Applying a trait-based approach for zooplankton will make us better able to understand the effect of climate change on future Arctic marine food webs.

The proposed PhD project will focus on the diversity of functional traits to understand the dynamics of Arctic zooplankton (mainly copepods), by analyzing functional traits for existing data on Arctic zooplankton communities, collected within the Nansen Legacy and ECOTIP projects. Developing a model to gain knowledge on how copepod traits and the environment (e.g. temperature, salinity, seasonality) and food web processes (e.g. the biological carbon pump) are linked in Arctic ecosystems is also envisioned. For training in traits analyses, a 3-6 month research-stay at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU-Aqua, in Lyngby, Denmark) is anticipated during the first year of the PhD project, under the guidance of co-supervisor Prof. André Visser. During the PhD there will be possibilities for shorter research stays at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), facilitated by main supervisor Camilla Svensen (UiT) and the co-supervisors Haakon Hop (Norwegian Polar Institute) and Janne E Søreide (UNIS).

The applicants must present a description outlining the academic basis of the PhD project. The project description shall not exceed 2 pages + literature references. It must include a description of the theme, research question(s) and a reasoning of the choices. It should also indicate the methodologies to be used. The final project description will be developed in cooperation with the supervisor.