PhD position in Climate ChangeExternal

The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Topic: "Impacts of climate change on marine animals along latitudinal clines and in polar areas"

News Overview

Contact: Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner
E-mail: hans.poertner [at]
website: Job webpage
Deadline: October 14, 2018

The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is announcing an open PhD position focussed around the theme of "Impacts of climate change on marine animals along latitudinal clines and in polar areas". The up-to 3 year position will starting in late 2018/early 2019, and will be based in Bremerhaven, at the German salary level 13.

AWI is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals. AWI offers a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure.

The broad aim of the research relating to this position is to integrate findings from different levels of biological organisations and analyse the interaction between hierarchical levels, eventually developing both a mechanism-based understanding of how climate impacts these factors, as well as how they may be impacted by the combined actions of climate drivers in the ocean, changing species interactions and shifts in ecological patterns. To this end, the successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Compare the functional and associated transcriptomic responses of species populations across relevant latitudinal clines to identify functions undergoing change.
  • Characterize physiological functions and their role in shaping and constraining whole animal performance, from whole organism to underlying protein functions.
  • Compare populations with respect to data from short and long-term incubations for an evaluation of acclimatization capacity of crucial mechanisms underpinning adaptation.
  • Consider commonalities and differences in physiological responses to climate change across populations.
  • Through comparison of populations identify mechanisms crucial in tolerance to environmental fluctuations and in adaptation to various climate regimes.
  • Integrate these findings into mechanism-based models of climate related vulnerability and of adaptation to various climate zones.
  • Apply these mechanism-based models to polar species and identify crucial modifications reflecting polar adaptation. 

When applying, AWI asks that applicants consider these tasks and deliver focused applications combined with a brief statement of interest and proposed research that integrates and highlights the applicant's skills.

The successful applicant will have a Masters in natural sciences and a high-quality Masters thesis. Skills in more than one relevant field of experimental biology, experience in handling large data sets and systems thinking are an asset. An understanding of physiological principles of climate impacts and associated ecological patterns will be beneficial to develop this multidisciplinary project in an international team. For further information, please contact Professor Dr Hans-Otto Pörtner (hans [dot] poertneratawi [dot] de).

Applicants are asked to send their applications with documentation (cover letter with motivation, CV and two references/letters of recommendation) to personalatawi [dot] de (subject: 143%2FG%2FBio) , with the subject line/reference code 143/G/Bio. The deadline for submission is 14 October 2018.

AWI aims to increase the number of women in the scientific staff and therefore encourages women to apply. Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of their engagement in the area of work-life compatibility they have been awarded the "Career and Family" certificate.