PhD student on Fe-Mn colimitation of Antarctic phytoplankton, University of Bremen, Germany
The working group Ecotrace embedded in the Marine Botany Department at the University Bremen offers the position of a PhD Researcher in Antarctic phytoplankton ecophysiology for the duration of 3 years starting from September/October 2018. Salary will be according to the German Federal pay scale (TV-L 13).
The Southern Ocean (SO) exerts a disproportional control on the global carbon cycle, thus affecting climate at a global scale. Southern Ocean phytoplankton are major drivers of global carbon cycling accounting for 20% of the global annual primary production. In the SO, the biological uptake of carbon dioxide is mainly controlled by the availability of the trace metal iron (Fe) and light, both being essential for photosynthesis. Whereas most studies so far focused on disentangling how Fe and light influence SO phytoplankton growth and productivity, almost nothing is known whether other trace metals such as manganese (Mn) also act as limiting or co-limiting nutrient in the SO. Mn is required for various cellular processes in phytoplankton cells and has been suggested to be (co-)limiting with Fe in some parts of the SO such as the Drake Passage. Currently, we lack information on growth, photosynthesis, oxidative stress and Mn and Fe requirements under Fe-Mn limitation for SO phytoplankton species. This research project aims to improve our understanding about the potential effects of Fe-Mn co-limitation on SO phytoplankton physiology and their implications for the ecology and biogeochemistry in the present and future SO. To this end, the responses of SO phytoplankton will be studied in response to altered Fe and Mn availabilities under different light conditions, simulating different climate change scenarios. A multidisciplinary approach will be followed that integrates biology and marine chemistry and combines laboratory and field work. Laboratory experiments with ecologically and biogeochemically important phytoplankton species of the SO will provide a mechanistic understanding on physiological processes such as photosynthesis and trace metal requirements. Shipboard manipulation experiments with natural SO phytoplankton assemblages of different regions of the SO will further reveal the occurrence of Fe-Mn co-limitation and will help to identify phytoplankton species in the field, which are particularly sensitive, but also tolerant towards altered trace metal and light availabilities. All together this research project will help to assess an ecophysiological explanation for the spatial distribution of SO key phytoplankton species in the present and the future SO. Improved knowledge on the functioning and the sensitivity of the SO ecosystem is pivotal to improve our existing predictive tools (e.g. modelling) and increase our understanding on the mechanisms, by which the SO affects climatic processes at global scale.
The successful candidate should hold a Master’s degree (or comparable) in biology, marine biology, marine chemistry or environmental sciences. Ideally the candidate is experienced in:
- applying methods in plant physiology
- trace metal clean working techniques
- culturing marine phytoplankton
- trace metal chemistry
The candidate should be highly motivated and able to work in a small, closely cooperating team. The international nature of the project requires fluency in spoken and written English and good presentation and publication skills. In addition, the successful candidate should have good team spirit. The successful candidate will be embedded in the working group Ecotrace, headed by Prof. Dr. Scarlett Trimborn.
Conditions of employment:
The position is limited to 3 years and will start in October 2018, if possible. As the University of Bremen intends to increase the proportion of female employees in science, women are particularly encouraged to apply. In case of equal personal aptitudes and qualification, disabled persons will be given priority. Applicants with a migration background are welcome.
How to Apply & What to Do in Case of Questions:
Applications should comprise a motivation letter, complete CV including any achievements, degree certificates (including list of courses and grades), names and contact details of at least two referees, and a list of your publications.
Please send your application until August 31 as a single pdf-file not exceeding 10 MByte via e-mail to: Prof. Dr. Scarlett Trimborn, scarlett.trimborn at uni-bremen.de