PhD Position “Arctic Coastal ecology” – Deadline 10 November 2021


Changing Polar coasts: from land to sea

With erosion rates as high as 25 myr-1, the release of sediments, organic carbon, and nutrients from permafrost coasts has profound impacts. As the transient area between the coast and the deep ocean, the nearshore zone plays a crucial role in the Arctic carbon and nutrient cycle, because in this area it is decided to what extent the eroded organic material is:

  1. mineralized into greenhouse gases,
  2. involved in marine primary production,
  3. transported offshore or,
  4. retained and buried in nearshore sediments.

The main goal of this project is to evaluate how changing terrestrial inputs in polar coastal ecosystems change the biodiversity, production and services of nearshore coastal communities.


In this project, we will focus on the impacts of coastal erosion and associated lateral matter transfer on nearshore food webs. To do so, we will:

  • sample coastal waters to quantify zooplankton, phytoplankton, marine bacteria and their diversity,
  • quantify nutrients in the water column along transects with increasing distance from the coastline,
  • carry out experiments of different complexity (from bioassays to mesocosms), to assess which factors limit planktonic production in the nearshore, to be able to predict the impact of increased permafrost thaw and run-off on these nearshore communities,
  • assess the potential impact on the further food chain, as changes in the plankton might have consequences for higher trophic levels (and thus are relevant for human harvesting).
  • Overall, we will identify how shifting terrestrial matter transport in the Arctic nearshore zone will affect the composition of the planktonic community and restructure trophic interactions.


  • Master in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences or related fields
  • Experience in experimental approaches, uni/multivariate statistics
  • Willingness to participate in expeditions to the Arctic as well as ship-based sampling campaigns
  • Excellent English language skills and enjoy working in an international and interdisciplinary team

Further Information

Please contact Prof. Dr. Maarten Boersma (; +49(4725)819-3350) or Dr. Cédric Meunier (; +49(4725)819-3143) for further information.

The position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the Federation (Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes, TVöD Bund), up to salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Helgoland.

All doctoral candidates will be members of AWI’s postgraduate program POLMAR or another graduate school and thus benefit from a comprehensive training program and extensive support measures.


We look forward to your application!

Please submit your application by November 10th 2021, exclusively online.

Reference number 21/181/G/INSPIRESN-b.

To join the info session please click the following link.

via AWI 
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