PhD Position: Stress Evaluation as Welfare Indicator in Marine Salmonid Fish Farming

Ålesund, Norway
14 Apr 2018
End of advertisement period
06 May 2018
NV- 54/18
Contract Type
Full Time

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Department of Biological Sciences in Ålesund

A PhD position is available at NTNU for a highly qualified, ambitious and motivated candidate to investigate stress in farmed fish with the ultimate goal to improve fish welfare. The appointment has a duration of 3 years with the possibility of until 1 year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. For teaching duties it is required that the candidate speaks Norwegian or another Scandinavian language. The position is financed by the Department of Biological Sciences in Ålesund and has a special responsibility for the Research and Development license for salmonids at NTNU.

Norwegian and EU laws and regulations for aquaculture demand farmed fish to be reared under conditions that assure a high animal welfare standard. Stress is an important factor for fish welfare, as it influences the immune system, increases the susceptibility to diseases and has negative effect on survival, growth and product quality. How to assess and define fish welfare is an ongoing debate where no consensus has been reached. The assessment of welfare in ways that allow comparisons of stocks, farms, management procedures and   production strategies is not trivial. Development of a standardized, validated and operational method for welfare assessment is necessary.

Stress affects physiological functions and modifies behavior. The stress hormone cortisol is generally measured in blood, but blood sampling itself can be stressful and instant release of cortisol into the blood during sampling may disturb the result. Cortisol may be measured in other matrices, such as feces, mucus or scales. This allows for non-invasive sampling procedures and avoiding sampling bias through the handling of the animals. Specific methodology for analyses of feces corticoid metabolites (FCM) in salmonids is developed at NTNU Ålesund in project 901005 funded by The Norwegian Seafood Research Fund.

Information about the department 

The Department of Biological Sciences Ålesund is closely linked to the regional economy, both to health and the marine sector. The department focuses on interdisciplinary research and innovation related to sustainable salmon farming, the marine environment, marine ingredients and medical and laboratory technology. The department has a full scale framing license for salmonids located at several farming sites in Møre og Romsdal.

Further information is available at the department’s homepage:

Job description

The PhD project will focus on further development of low invasive methodology to assess fish welfare, specifically stress levels. The main focus will be on analyzing low invasive matrices, and its application as tool to evaluate and improve farmed fish welfare. This will include exploring new markers of stress and analysis tool for better assessment of stress. We are seeking a person with knowledge of finfish aquaculture and with interest in animal welfare. The successful candidate will be closely connected to the research team on sustainable aquaculture at the Department of biological sciences in Ålesund. The candidate should be able to work in a team, but also to lead their own research in the field and in the laboratory. The Department of biological sciences in Ålesund have an extensive laboratory infrastructure that can be utilized by the PhD candidate.

Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at:


The candidate must have an MSc (or equivalent) in veterinary science, fish health biology, biotechnology, marine biology or similar fields. 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. Previous practical experience from fish farming or relevant analytical experience will be considered an advantage, but is not strictly required.

To be qualified for admission to the PhD program at NTNU, the candidate must demonstrate a B average or better (on the European Credit Transfer System -ECTS- grading scale) at the MSc level.

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. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English(CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

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’s personnel policy objective is that the staff must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent.

The position as PhD is remunerated according to the Norwegian State salary scale. There is a 2% deduction for superannuation contribution.

Further information can be obtained from Department of biological sciences, NTNU, Associate professor Lars Gansel, Tel. +47 46 45 62 81, E-mail:  or Associate professor Ann-Kristin Tveten Tel. +47 92 64 26 66, E-mail:

The application

Applications with CV, certificates from both Bachelor and Master, possible publications and other scientific works, copies of transcripts, (copies of documentation on English language proficiency test) and reference letters should be submitted.

Applications must be submitted electronically through

Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

The reference number of the position is: NV- 54/18

Application deadline: 06.05.18


  • Deadline Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Ålesund
  • Place of service Ålesund
  • Jobbnorge ID 151307
  • Internal ID 2018/11503
  • 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!