PostDoc in Arctic trophic transfer (SiDe-EFFECT) – Deadline 24 November 2022


The research section ‘Polar Biological Oceanography’ in Bremerhaven, Germany, offers a Postdoctoral position (m/f/d) within the “Silicic acid Decline Effect on Arctic Marine Ecosystems” (SiDe-EFFECT) Helmholtz Young Investigator Group starting 01.01.2023. Your focus will be on the changes in grazing rates, reproductive success and carbon trophic transfer of key Arctic zooplankton species as a response to the shift in microalgae composition caused by a decline in silicic acid in the Arctic Ocean.

The overarching objective of SiDe-EFFECT is to understand the reaction mechanisms and the consequences of declining silicic acid input to the Arctic Ocean from an ecosystem perspective, combining physiological response studies of natural communities and individual species, and changes in biodiversity, with grazing interaction experiments, and implementation of new parameterizations in biogeochemical models to improve predictions of the fate of the biological carbon pump in the Eurasian part of the AO.
Specifically, you will look at which consequences does the change in the degree of silicification of diatoms, and the potential shift towards non-silicifying microalgae could have for zooplankton. Arctic zooplankton is represented by several groups such as copepods, krill and amphipods. We will focus on copepods as the main link between microalgae and zooplankton. You will perform on-board laboratory short-term grazing experiments with the most abundant species of zooplankton and phytoplankton/sea-ice algae, quantify the species-specific carbon trophic transfer efficiency between phytoplankton and zooplankton under different silicic acid concentrations and estimate the carbon export efficiency under different silicic acid availability scenarios.


  • Planning and conducting grazing experiments with the most abundant zooplankton species present during the spring and summer blooms in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Designing and implementing experiments to determine the d13C values of essential amino acids in key zooplankton species to show the use of Phaeocystis and other microalgae for zooplankton biomass in the Arctic food web.
  • Monitor carbon trophic transfer to zooplankton and to fish larvae under a gradient of silicic acid concentrations and assess the consequences of the decline in silicic acid on carbon export.
  • Merging and analyzing the retrieved data, publishing of results.
  • Applying for third party funding.


  • PhD in bioscience, environmental sciences or related disciplines.
  • Strong interest in understanding the Arctic Ocean ecosystem under climate change.
  • Expertise in carbon trophic transfer.
  • Knowledge of stable isotopes.
  • Experience in data analysis and good computer software skills.
  • High interest in collaborative research, presentation and publication of scientific data.
  • Interest in acquiring funding.
  • Very good English language skills written and spoken
  • Capacity for teamwork, international, inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Interest to support and supervise PhD-students, students and interns.
  • Willingness and capability to participate in seagoing expeditions for several weeks.

Further Information

Please contact Dr. Mar Feràndez-Méndez (; +49(471)4831-1895) for further information.

This is a full-time position, limited to 2 years. It is also suitable for part-time employment. 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. The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

Postdocs have to register with AWI’s postdoc office PROCEED, thereby gaining access to a set of tailor-made career development tools.

The AWI is characterised by

  • our scientific success – excellent research
  • collaboration and cooperation – intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary
  • opportunities to develop – on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI
  • a culture of reconciling work and family – an audited and well-supported aspect of our operation
  • our outstanding research infrastructure – ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more
  • an international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world
  • having an influence – fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies – facilitating freedom and responsibility
  • exciting science topics, with opportunities also in technology, administration and infrastructure

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

Disabled applicants 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!

Please submit your application by November 24th 2022, exclusively online.
Reference number 22/171/G/Bio-b

Further information can be found here.

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