Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate  School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Ecoscience programme. The position is available from 15 August 2023 or  later.


PhD in the development and application of photonics sensors to support marine restoration and research

Research area and project description

A  suite of sensors is being developed, including hyperspectral cameras, a  laser-based fluorescence imaging seabed system in high resolution and a  novel confocal multi-modal LiDAR system. The sensor suite is designed  for data processing by artificial intelligence (AI), in an automated  fashion, that returns critical biological information such as the  classification of the image content (e.g. presence of eelgrass and other  floral) faunistic elements) and its abundance. A string of laboratory  and field studies are anticipated to facilitate training sets for AI  algorithms and find the best usage. The research will focus on the biome  associated with five habitats: restoring boulder reefs, eelgrass  meadows, mussel beds, soft-bottom habitats, and the pelagic habitat of  Danish waters. This will provide accurate integrated, holistic  information about marine ecosystem health and offer unprecedented sea  floor restoration information, as no similar initiative exists today. To  that end, the confocal multi-modal LiDAR system is aimed at particles  as small as 100 μm in the water column, leading to the hypothesis that  we may be able to count, characterise and size particles such as  zooplankton. This will further provide information on the thin layer  chlorophyll structure and the presence of zooplankton, gauging critical  elements of the pelagic biological community.

Research topics  include the application of calibrated optical instrumentations to  quantify benthic fauna and flora’s composition and abundances and  compare them with conventional diver-based observations, as well as  information on species composition obtained using environmental DNA. The  PhD candidate will contribute to characterising the trophic  compositions of different seafloor habitats across gradients (e.g.  depth, salinity) to develop biodiversity indices with higher taxonomical  resolution and larger spatial coverage, enabling improved environmental  status assessments relevant to marine restoration and protection.

The  successful candidate will work with the development, testing and  validation of the instrumentations with the current methods employed in  environmental monitoring and research to ground-truth the instruments.  The work will contribute to other ongoing projects on marine restoration  and the application of novel marine monitoring techniques.

We  are seeking an open-minded, curious person interested in marine  ecosystem research.  The student will join a multi-disciplinary team of  researchers at different levels of their education in an international  environment where commitment, helpfulness, flexibility, and close  collaboration are core values.

The study is part of a collaborative  research project funded by the VELUX Foundation and a collaboration  between Aarhus University and DTU.

Project description. For technical  reasons, you must upload a project description. Please simply copy the  project description above and upload it as a PDF in the application.

Qualifications and specific competences:

Applicants  must have a relevant Master’s degree in Biotechnology, Biology, Ocean  Engineering or similar training. Experience in habitat assessment,  taxonomical knowledge, a commercial divers license, and certification  for handling small boats, are considered an advantage. Furthermore, the  project emphasises working with programming or scripting in tools like  MatLab, Phyton, R or the like.  Knowledge or demonstrated willingness to  acquire these skills is emphasised in the candidate assessment. Oral  and written communication skills in English are required, and the  applicant must be able to present results at international conferences  and publish them in international peer-reviewed journals. The applicant  should be enthusiastic about working in an international and  interdisciplinary academic environment.

Place of employment and place of work:

The  place of employment is Aarhus University’s department of Ecoscience,  and the work location is Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.


Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

  • Senior researcher Hans Jakobsen,
  • Head of section, Karsten Dahl,

How to apply:

Please follow this link to submit your application.

  • Application deadline is 26 May 2023 at 23:59 CEST.
  • Preferred starting date is 1 September 2023.

For information about application requirements and mandatory attachments, please see our application guide.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.
via Aarhus University
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