Postdoc position: Geographic mosaics of mutualistic interactions, HIPP Pos # 2b – Deadline 25 August 2023


In order to address questions of global importance related to functional marine biodiversity and marine conservation and to stimulate an integrative and innovative research environment, HIFMB has created an independent postdoc pool, HIPP, that offers postdoctoral scientists the opportunity to develop their own research ideas and to actively shape their scientific careers. For each call, we set a topical context in order to foster collaborations between postdocs. For this call, we seek to hire a strong team of researchers, open and enthusiastic to interdisciplinary working, who will address the overarching question of ‘Ecosystem re-assembly under climate change’ in collaboration with the HIFMB community.

Ecosystems are re-assembling under climate change. Key species are lost from local areas and new species are taking their place. This process happens across scales, from the re-assembly of animal’s gut microbiomes stressed by changing environments to the loss of foundation species in coastal ecosystems such as corals, kelp and seagrasses. New tools, big data and as well as qualitative approaches mean that we can reassess classical questions of ecosystem assembly with the goal of developing a theoretical framework that can yield, perhaps, predictions about the reassembly process, and insights as to what it means for governance where movement may render existing spatial measures as obsolete (Maxwell et al. 2015).

We need to understand how ecosystems are reassembled to make decisions about where, when and what will be conserved and how we can engage “new ecosystems” in relation to human life.


Within the above-mentioned cohort-project, we offer 1 Postdoc position in “Geographic mosaics of mutualistic interactions” (#2b)

Species that require mutualists for their survival are particularly interesting when thinking about marine ecosystem reassembly because the environmental parameters within which the partners can thrive may not coincide. Temperature and light optima might differ between hosts and their mutualists. Further, the ability of the partners to adapt and disperse to new conditions may differ. For example, the multi-cellular host might be characterized by large populations connected via planktonic larvae whereas the uni-cellular symbiont may disperse over smaller spatial scales. Some hosts solve this problem by associating with different mutualists across the host’s geographic range. Some hosts carry their mutualists with them when dispersing (vertical transmission). Some hosts may not be able to move poleward because their obligate mutualistic partners cannot adapt to the new conditions.


The postdoctoral scholar or scholars will consider how marine mutualisms reassemble under climate change. Depending on the interest of the candidate, approaches can range from mathematical modelling (position 2a) to experimental work (this position) that examines conditions under which assembly succeeds or fails. The researcher will closely collaborate with position 2a.


  • PhD in Molecular Ecology, Evolution, or Marine Microbiology or a related field.
  • Experience with aquarium systems desirable
  • Experience and ability working in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Excellent English written and oral communication.
  • Record of scientific publications on this or closely related topics.

The HIPP is explicitly meant to foster networking between marine institutions. We therefore offer the possibility for candidates to bring in additional advisors from institutions outside of HIFMB. HIFMB further strives for transformation and bridging the science-policy interface. Therefore, proven experience in transfer activities is a plus.

Further Information

The position will be financed for a fixed term of 3 years (100% TVöD E13, Jan 1 2024 to Dec 31 2026). This is a full-time position. It is also suitable for part-time employment.

We offer

  • An interdisciplinary research environment with expertise in experimental and field oriented marine ecology, data science, modelling, marine governance and political ecology.
  • Career development support through transdisciplinary workshops, seminars and mentoring at the Graduate Academy of Oldenburg University and AWI’s postdoc office PROCEED.
  • A lively international atmosphere and family-friendly environment.

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of employees who are women, and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

Applicants with disabilities will be given preference when equal qualifications are present.

The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

We look forward to your application!

If you have any questions about your eligibility or the application procedure, please feel free to contact Ruth Krause ( If you have content-related questions, please contact Prof. Iliana Baums (

The deadline for application is August 25th, 2023. Interviews are planned for the last 2 weeks of September 2023/ beginning of October, in Oldenburg or online.

Applications include an extended motivation letter and your academic CV with a list of the most important publications (please use attached template). In your motivation letter, please explain the background and existing knowledge in the context of the announced Postdoc position.

Reference number: 23/72/G/HIPP-b

Further information about this opportunities, click here.

via AWI
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