ORGANISATION/COMPANYUniversity of Amsterdam
RESEARCHER PROFILEFirst Stage Researcher (R1)Recognised Researcher (R2)Established Researcher (R3)Leading Researcher (R4)
APPLICATION DEADLINE31/03/2017 23:59 - Europe/Brussels
LOCATIONNetherlands › Amsterdam
TYPE OF CONTRACTOther
HOURS PER WEEK38
The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is looking for 3 excellent PhD candidates in sponge biology / coral reef ecologyto join our team.
EU ERC Starting Grant: SPONGE ENGINE — Fast and efficient sponge engines drive and modulate the food web of reef ecosystems
Coral reefs are iconic examples of biological hotspots, highly appreciated because of their ecosystem services. Yet, they are threatened by human impact and climate change, highlighting the need to develop tools and strategies to curtail changes in these ecosystems. Remarkably, ever since Darwin’s descriptions of coral reefs, it has been a mystery how one of Earth’s most productive and diverse ecosystems thrives in oligotrophic seas, as an oasis in a marine desert. Our team recently discovered the ‘sponge loop’ pathway (De Goeij et al. Science 2013) that efficiently retains and transfers energy and nutrients on the reef. We recognized sponges as potential (and so far neglected) key ecosystem drivers, and accumulated evidence on sponge loops in other ecosystems, such as deep-sea coral reefs. As a result, current reef food web models, lacking sponge-driven resource cycling, are incomplete and need to be redeveloped. However, mechanisms that determine the capacity of sponge 'engines', how they are fuelled, and drive communities are unknown.
The aim of this ERC project is to systematically establish the novel reef food web framework, integrating sponges as key ecosystem drivers. To this end, sponges will be evaluated on functional traits (morphology, associated microbes, pumping rate) in the processing of dissolved food, the main fuel of the engine. At the community level, we will assess to what extent these different traits are a driving force in structuring reef ecosystems, from fuel input (primary producers) to engine output (driving and modulating the consumer food web). This framework derived from a Caribbean reef ecosystem will then be implemented in a sponge-driven food web model, a much-needed foundation to test and predict future scenarios of changes in reef communities. Ultimately, we will test and generalize the novel food web framework at a tropical Indo-Pacific, a temperate Mediterranean, and a cold-water North-Atlantic reef.
You may also want to check the three project descriptions.
The PhD candidate must have:
- an MSc in Biological Sciences or Marine Sciences (all candidates) and sufficient knowledge in molecular biology (PhD-project 1), cell- and microbiology (PhD-projects 1 and 2), or marine ecology (PhD-project 3);
- proven skills in scientific writing (either excellent Master-thesis (in English) or published paper in peer-reviewed scientific journal);
- experience with laboratory and/or field experiments (including data analysis), preferably with sponges, corals, algae or microbes;
- interest to combine theory with laboratory and field studies;
- proven skills in molecular techniques and bioinformatics (high-throughput sequencing) (PhD project 1 only);
- the ability to work on a multidisciplinary topic in a multidisciplinary research team;
- a SCUBA diving certification is mandatory for PhD project 3 and highly recommended for PhD projects 1/2;
- a driving license.
The positions will start preferably 1 June 2017. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of 4 years. Initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years. The full-time gross monthly salary will range from €2,191 in the first year to €2,801 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus.
Web site for additional job details
Required Research Experiences
YEARS OF RESEARCH EXPERIENCE1 - 4
REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVELPhysics: Master Degree or equivalent
REQUIRED LANGUAGESENGLISH: Good
EURAXESS offer ID: 184796
Posting organisation offer ID: 38816
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