PhD Position in Lower Food-Web Dynamics of Barents Sea Plankton Communities

Trondheim, Norway
22 Mar 2018
End of advertisement period
20 Apr 2018
NT- 39/18
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

A PhD position is available at the Department of Biology. The appointment duration is 3 years. The position is part of the Nansen Legacy Project ( funded by the Research council of Norway and NTNU. The Nansen Legacy is the Norwegian Arctic research community’s joint effort to establish a holistic understanding of a changing marine Arctic climate and ecosystem.

Information about the department

The strategy of the Department of Biology is to understand biological processes of life for sustainable use and conservation of the environment. The Department has an interdisciplinary approach to education and research that is deeply rooted in environmental and evolutionary biology as important links between the different sub-disciplines (cell- and molecular biology, systems biology, physiology, ethology, ecology, population genetics, marine sciences, aquaculture, biodiversity and environmental toxicology). The Department of Biology is the host of the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), which is a National Centre of Excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway and NTNU. For more information about the department go to:

Marine plankton ecology and the responses of plankton communities to external drivers, including the effects of climate change, are foci of the Marine Science Research Group at Trondhjem Biological Station (TBS) and NTNUs Centre of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SeaLab) within the Department of Biology ( The Marine Science Research Group has broad national and international research collaborations and the permanent scientific staffs are recognized as international leaders and researchers in their respective disciplines.

Job description

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim Norway is seeking a new graduate student (PhD studentship) with an emphasis on ‘Trophic transfer and nutritional variations at the primary producer-consumer interface of Barents Sea plankton communities’. The project is part of Research Focus 3 (RF3: The living Barents Sea) focussing on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and environmental forcing of the northern and central Barents Sea (Arctic-influenced) as opposed to the southern region (Atlantic-influenced). This PhD project aims at elucidating the role of nutritional variations in the diets of planktonic consumers in the Barents Sea ecossytem. The focus is on microzooplankton-mesozooplankton interactions and the trophic link between primary producers and consumers. The emphasis will be on the effects of food quantity/quality on growth and nutritional condition of consumers. The capacities of micrograzers to buffer nutritional imbalances at the primary producer-consumer interface (trophic upgrading) will be considered in detail.

This PhD project has a strong experimental focus e.g. on analyzing selective grazing of micro- and mesozooplankton and the impacts of food quantity/quality on consumers during different seasons and along latitudinal gradients in the Barents Sea. To address these issues, the PhD student will perform grazing experiments (e.g. dilution experiments, grazer exclusion experiments) during several research cruises using natural Barents Sea plankton communities. Participation in several research cruises to the Barents Sea regions during different years and seasons are a prerequisite.

The analytical work will mainly be conducted at the well-equipped laboratories at TBS and SeaLab (NTNU, Trondheim). A strong emphasis will be on national cooperation with partners of the Nansen Legacy project and international collaborations.

The position is supposed to start in summer 2018.

Detailed information on the PhD program of the Department of Biology is found at: 


The applicant must have a MSc degree (or equivalent) in biological oceanography, marine/fisheries sciences, or limnology. Excellent knowledge in aquatic ecology and/or plankton ecology is required. We expect a strong interest in general ecological questions and experience in carrying out and analyzing ecological experiments including general statistics. Experience in experimental studies focusing on feeding preferences, food quality and quantity, diversity, impacts of environmental stressors on plankton communities will be considered as an advantage. 

The successful candidate should be creative, with a strong ability to work problem oriented. He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams.

The regulations for PhD programmes at NTNU state that a Master degree or equivalent with at least 5 years of studies and an average grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best) for the two last years of the MSc is required and C or higher of the BSc. Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:

The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language.

Terms of employment

The appointment of the PhD fellows will be made according to Norwegian guidelines for universities and university colleges and to the general regulations regarding university employees. Applicants must agree to participate in organized doctoral study programs within the period of the appointment and have to be qualified for the PhD-study.

NTNU has a personnel policy objective that the staff must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent.

The appointment will be made according to the general regulations regarding university employees. PhD research positions are remunerated according to Norwegian Government pay scale. Normally at start wage level 50, gross NOK 420 800 per year before tax. There is a 2% deduction for superannuation contribution.

Further information can be obtained from:

Associate Professor Nicole Aberle-Malzahn, Trondhjem Biological Stations (TBS), Department of Biology, NTNU, E-mail:

Professor Yngvar Olsen, Trondhjem Biological Stations (TBS), Department of Biology, NTNU, E-mail:

Further information about the Department can be found at:

Further information about the research groups can be found at:

The application

Applications with CV, certificates from both Bachelor and Master, list of possible publications and other scientific works, copies of transcripts, and contact details of three referees should be submitted.

Applications must be submitted electronically through
Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. The reference number of the position is: NT- 39/18

Application deadline: 20. April 2018 


  • Deadline Friday, April 20, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 149970
  • Internal ID 39/18
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary


  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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