PhD position: Comparative evolutionary ecotoxicological adaptations to anthropogenic disturbance in sea anemones from the Antarctica and the deep sea – Deadline 31 May 2023

Polymetallic nodules in the deep-sea are targets for mining exploitation, introducing potentially toxic metals into the water column. Manganese (Mn) is one of several contaminants, also found in coastal areas near waste disposal sites of Antarctic research stations. Cold adapted organisms from these environments have limited thermal plasticity and are at risk from climate change. Sea anemones (Actiniarians) are found worldwide, from the tropics to the deep sea or Antarctic ecosystems. They have crucial roles in benthic-pelagic coupling and are good indicators for studies to assess environmental change. This project will study the impact of anthropogenic disturbance leading to metal exposure and seawater temperature rise on biological defense mechanisms of phylogenetically related Actinaria by comparing species adapted to cold and the tropics. This will be investigated on: transcriptomics and proteomics; metal accumulation, physiological and ecotoxicological effects; immunological responses; behavior. This will provide new knowledge on species adaptations, evolutionary history and potential resistance to future threats, essential to implement protective policies as manageable.

CIMA has laboratories well equipped and a team with strong expertise in deep sea and ecotoxicological adaptations. Funds will come partially from FCT projects BiDiRisk (PTDC/CTA-AMB/2894/2021) and DEEP REST (DivRestore/0009/2020). A collaboration with CCMAR research Centre with competence in marine biology, ecology, omics technologies and other related areas and a team with expertise in several Antarctica campaigns which will contribute to facilitate access to Chinese or other Antarctic stations

Profile of applicants:

Applicants should have most of the conditions stated below:

  • Master’s degree in Ecology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biology, or related fields;
  • Knowledge and or/ experience in ecotoxicological analysis techniques;
  • Knowledge and/or experience in molecular biology analysis techniques;
  • Good knowledge of spoken and written English;
  • Strong motivation and a willingness to work under extreme conditions.


Supervisor: Doctor Nélia Mestre
Co-supervisors: Doctor Cármen Sousa; Prof Doctor Deborah Power

Host institutions

Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA), University of Algarve in collaboration with Centre for Marine Sciences (CCMAR)

Doctoral programme

PhD. in Marine, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Algarve. LINK.


Scholarships are annual, renewable to a maximum of 4 years.


Applications and all supporting documents must be submitted online using the Application Form available on each scholarship page. Applications submitted by other means will not be accepted.

Application Process

Please note that you will need the items listed below. To ease the submission process, we suggest you gather them before you start your application:

  • Copy of your Identification Document (ID card, passport);
  • Certificate degree and grades transcript.
  • Your Curriculum Vitae and saved as PDF;
  • A Motivation Letter;
  • 2 Recommendation letters.

Notification of results

Evaluation results will be communicated to the email address provided by the candidates in the application form.


May 31 , 2023 |  23:59 Lisbon Time

Before applying, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you carefully read the Public Notice of the Call for detailed information on the application, evaluation and selection process.

Notice of the Call ( english version)

For  further information about this opportunity, click here.

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