Ph.D. Position Marine Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes



Ph.D. Position Marine Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes

Deadline: 13. May 2018

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation of public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90 %) and the state of Schleswig-Holstein (10 %) and is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine sciences. Currently GEOMAR disposes over an annual budget of approx. 75 million Euro and has approx. 1000 employees.

The research unit “Marine Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes” of the research division “Marine Ecology” is offering a

Position for a Ph.D. student / Doctoral candidate

in the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group ‘The role of pelagic food falls in subsidizing deep-sea bottom communities in a changing ocean’, which is lead by Dr. Henk-Jan Hoving. A close collaboration with an already employed PhD student and technician in the project is expected. The starting date is as soon as possible.

Job description
We are looking for a motivated candidate who shares our fascination for deep-sea biology and who is inspired to contribute to interdisciplinary research efforts to investigate the biology of organisms in the Earth’s largest yet least explored environment with the support of the technological facilities at GEOMAR.
Project Description

GEOMAR’s Deep-Sea Biology group investigates the ecology and behavior of deep-sea invertebrates, and their role in the food web from the water column to the seafloor. Deep-sea benthic communities rely on organic matter that is deposited on the seafloor either as detrital aggregates (marine snow) or as carcasses from larger pelagic organisms (food falls). The role of medium size pelagic food falls from large invertebrates (gelatinous macrozooplankton and cephalopods) in subsidizing deep-sea benthic communities is very poorly known. However, these organisms are very abundant and diverse in the deep pelagic zone. To determine the fate of pelagic food falls, and to predict the consequences of shifting pelagic communities for benthic food webs, this project will compare the scavenging communities, scavenging rates and scavenging successional phases of deposited carcasses between different species of pelagic invertebrate and vertebrate (fish) in different ocean basins.
The successful candidate will investigate the ecology of pelagic food falls (carcasses of cephalopods, gelatinous macrozooplankton and fishes). Artificial food fall experiments will be undertaken by deploying baited landers during research cruises. The project will involve fieldwork, the analysis of video and images, taxonomic identification of camera observed and net/trap captured organisms, and food web analysis. The results of the experiments should be published in peer reviewed journals and will be part of the PhD thesis of the candidate to attain a doctoral degree in natural sciences.

We are looking for a highly motivated applicant with a MSc degree or Diploma degree in marine biology, zoology, biological oceanography or an equivalent studies. The candidate should have experience with application of statistical software (e.g. ‘R’) and ecological data analyses. The fieldwork will involve working in a multidisciplinary team on research vessels for several weeks in international waters, and the candidate needs to be fit and motivated to participate in these cruises. Affinity with marine technology and experience on research vessels is advantageous. The guidance of student workers and the publication of scientific results is required, and experience with publishing scientific results are an advantage. The ability to work in a team, excellent communication skills, and outstanding knowledge of English writing and language are required.

The position is available for a funding period of 36 months. The salary depends on qualification and could be up to the class E13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees. This is a part-time position according to 75 % of a full-time equivalent. The position can not be split. The fixed-term contract shall comply with Section 2 Paragraph 1 of The Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract (German WissZeitVG).

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply.  GEOMAR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the application process.

Please send your application (letter of motivation and CV) for this post not later than May 15, 2018 in a single pdf-file using the keyword "Pelagic Food Falls" in the subject line to the following address:

Email: bewerbung(at)

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Bewerbungsmanagement / „Pelagic Food Falls“
Wischhofstr. 1 - 3
D-24148 Kiel

As soon as the selection procedure has finished, all application papers will be destroyed according to data protection regulation.

For further information regarding the position and research unit please contact Dr. H.J.T. Hoving (hhoving(at); +49 – 431 – 600 - 4566).

Please do not contact us by phone about the present state of procedures. However, we will answer all your questions if you send us an e-mail to bewerbung[at] In doing so, please refer to the keyword.

GEOMAR is a member of the Helmholtz Association and the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM). For further information please visit or