PhD position in “Seasonally resolved ecophysiology of Arctic phytoplankton assemblages under global warming

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Offer Description

Area of research:

PHD Thesis

Part-Time Suitability:

The position is suitable for part-time employment.

Job description:PhD position in “Seasonally resolved ecophysiology of Arctic phytoplankton assemblages under global warming” (m/f/d)

The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the global average, which changes ecosystem phenology and productivity. Still, our understanding of Arctic ecological processes is based predominantly on studies conducted during spring and summer, so that many seasonal aspects (e.g. life-cycling, overwintering) and their sensitivity to global change are still poorly understood. The YESSS project aims at better understanding the responses of Arctic coastal ecosystems and their key species to warming, by means of weekly assessments of oceanographic and biological ‘core’ parameters. These in-situ observations are complemented with dedicated season-specific experiments on temperature responses of key species from multiple trophic levels (phytoplankton, seaweeds, mollusks, echinoderms and fish).
This PhD project will investigate the interaction between environmental conditions and seasonal variations in key traits of Arctic natural phytoplankton assemblages. Further, seasonally-resolved experiments on the temperature sensitivity of phytoplankton in different successional and physiological stages (e.g. pre-bloom, spring bloom, post-bloom, overwintering) will be conducted to understand the effects of Arctic warming and to identify physiological bottlenecks and detect potential tipping points.


  • Join five >6 week-long expeditions to a coastal Arctic research station in a small team with a diverse range of tasks
  • Conduct weekly in-situ sampling from small boats in all seasons
  • Plan, conduct and analyze seasonally-resolved experiments on the thermal scope of Arctic natural phytoplankton assemblages
  • Perform physiological assays with natural phytoplankton assemblages to measure rates of important processes (e.g. primary production, respiration, grazing losses)
  • Work in a larger consortium to understand which seasons are most sensitive to climate change effects on Arctic coastal ecosystem functioning
  • Present your finding on international conference and publish in peer-reviewed journals


  • M.Sc. degree in marine biology, biological oceanography or related fields
  • Background in phytoplankton research, either experimental or field work
  • Physical fitness, personal aptitude and willingness for frequent and long research expeditions to the Arctic
  • Particularly high levels of flexibility, resilience and team spirit
  • Excellent spoken and written English skills

Further Information
The AWI is characterised by

The AWI is characterised by

  • our scientific success – excellent research
  • collaboration and cooperation – intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary
  • opportunities to develop – on the job and towards other positions
  • an international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world
  • flexible working hours
  • Health promotion and company fitness with EGYM wellpass
  • support services and a culture of reconciling work and family
  • Occupational pension provision (VBL)
  • Jobticket

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of employees who are women, and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

Applicants with disabilities will be given preference when equal qualifications are present.

The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

This research center is part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. With more than 42,000 employees and an annual budget of over € 5 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation.


Additional Information

Website for additional job details

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