AWI invites applications for a position as a PhD student

The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.
Our section Shelf Sea System Ecology invites applications for a position as a
PhD student
Thesis topic: Molecular time series: Integration of novel techniques into existing long-term observation systems.
The Helgoland Roads phytoplankton time series is one of the longest and most detailed time series in the world. Phytoplankton samples are examined on a work-daily basis using the traditional Utermöhl method. However, this method cannot efficiently resolve the smaller size spectra of the phytoplankton from 10-20 ?m downwards so that the diversity of the nano- and phytoplankton is little known for Helgoland Roads, as indeed for many other time series.
Due to the wealth of time series information already available, Helgoland Roads presents an ideal opportunity for a comparative case study for the integration of molecular monitoring tools into an existing biodiversity time series. Molecular methods are increasingly used for the generation of biodiversity data, but their applicability in existing time series and their complementarity, potential synergistic effects and most importantly comparability with conventional time series data have not been evaluated.
Core tasks of this PhD project will be the evaluation of novel methods and workflows for integration of molecular workflows into conventional biological time series. This will be tested in the framework of a case study where the diversity of eukaryotic nano (and pico) plankton will be examined at Helgoland Roads both with conventional microscopy and counting techniques as well as molecular methods. The overarching goal is to assess how and to what extent molecular tools including next generation sequencing and molecular sensors can be integrated into routine monitoring. At the same time, we expect to gain a much better understanding of the Nano/Picoplankton and their role in the local foodweb at Helgoland Roads.
A completed degree (Masters) in biology or a related discipline is expected. Practical knowledge of standard analyses in molecular biology, bioinformatics, phycology and biological oceanography, as well as a basic understanding of multivariate and/or time series statistics is highly desirable. Proficiency in English and a readiness to participate in ship-based expeditions are expected.
For further information please contact Dr. Alexandra Kraberg ( or Dr. Katja Metfies (
The position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Helgoland.
We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure. Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate “Career and Family”.
As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( or another graduate school.
Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (letter of motivation, CV, publication list if applicable and contact information of two referees) by July 27th, 2016 referencing code 100/G/Bio to: Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Personalabteilung (human resources), Postfach 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven/Germany or by e- mail (all documents merged into one PDF file) to: