PhD position (m/f/d) “Priming as a kelp engineering technology to enhance yield and secure production under environmental challenges” (KelpPrime)

Alfred Wegener Institute
March 31, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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PhD position (m/f/d) “Priming as a kelp engineering technology to enhance

yield and secure production under environmental challenges” (KelpPrime)

Background AWI invites applications from outstanding candidates for this position, subject to funding by the Norwegian Research council. You will become part of the seaweed working group (Dr. Inka Bartsch) at the Alfred-Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Marine and Polar Science, in Bremerhaven in the department Biology, section ‘Functional Ecology'. Project lead is at Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University (Bodø, Norway), thereby you will become part of an interdisciplinary multi-national research team.

Thermal pre-conditioning or so called ‘priming' is a technique to rapidly enhance yield and stress resistance in crop agriculture. The project KelpPrime aims to investigate whether this approach may also become a novel bio-engineering technique in kelp cultivation. Kelps are the foundation species of diverse coastal ecosystems and are a promising target for a new sustainable aquaculture industry in Europe. Major objectives of the project are to characterize the potential and value of priming effects in the cultivation of two commercially important kelp species. The phenotypic responses associated to priming and their within generation and cross- generational stability in different kelp species and populations have to be assessed and quantified. Farming trials in Norway shall demonstrate potential long-term effects of priming. The Nord university partner will verify whether these effects rely primarily on the formation of an epigenetic stress memory or are due to other mechanisms.


  • use pre-existing clonal kelp cultures from a diversity of locations along the European distribution gradient to perform laboratory experiments with kelp microscopic stages (gametophytes, small sporophytes)
  • compare the phenotypic response of different populations /species of kelps and of differential crossing protocols under common garden experimental situations to reveal the plasticity and persistence of effects under a series of temperature priming scenarios
  • elucidate the transfer of priming effects measured in the laboratory into adult sporophytes cultivated in a kelp farm and model the potential increase in coastal area providing suitable temperatures in warming waters (together with Nord university)
  • cooperate closely with Nord university and university of Bremen
  • process results for publications in peer-reviewed journals, for conferences and for knowledge transfer to the general public or policy makers
  • Requirements

  • master degree in biology, marine biology, environmental science or related field
  • fluency in written and spoken English
  • knowledge in seaweeds and experience with macroalgae cultivation techniques
  • strong knowledge of at least one of the themes: computation (using R, modelling software), experimental design, stress experiments
  • demonstration of scientific writing and presenting skills
  • willingness and time flexibility to perform field work in Brittany and Bodø (Norway)
  • ability to work focused, disciplined, independently and cooperatively in a team and demonstration of strong interest in the topic
  • Additional skills and knowledge Preferably you already know some assessment methods (e.g. usage of a fluorometer, growth measurements) and you should not be distracted to perform many hours of microscopic work. Knowledge of German language is of advantage.

    Further Information

    Please contact Dr. Inka Bartsch ([email protected]; +49(471)4831 1404) for further information.

    This 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 Bremerhaven. 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.

    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 and towards other positions
  • an international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world
  • flexible working hours
  • Health promotion and company fitness with qualitrain
  • support services and a culture of reconciling work and family
  • Occupational pension provision (VBL)
  • Jobticket
  • 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!

    Please submit your application by March 31 st 2023, exclusively online. Please submit a complete application, preferably everything integrated in one pdf document, which includes a letter of motivation (max. 1 page), a CV with publication list if applicable, copies of certificates, contact details of two reviewers (name, degree of relationship, email and phone number), as well as a short concept for the doctoral thesis with theoretical basis and planned methodology (max. 2 pages).

    Reference number: 23/60/D/Bio-b


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