1 PhD position at the University of Oslo

1 PhD position in Ecology is open at The Centre of Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis of the Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

The successful candidate will work within the project “MARine MAnagement and Ecosystem Dynamics under climate change (MARmaED)” (http://www.marmaed.eu/) an Innovative Training Network funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (The European Union's Horizon 2020) under grant agreement No 675997 for the period 2015-2019. MARmaED is an international and interdisciplinary network that unifies specific and complementary competences in marine sciences from Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and France to investigate how the cumulative stress from biodiversity loss, climate change and harvesting will affect Europe’s complex marine systems and the consequences for optimal resource management.

The project’s main aim is to investigate how combined anthropogenic and climatic changes affect different harvested ecosystems (terrestrial, freshwater, and marine – particularly, but not only, in Arctic regions) and how management strategies can be improved to ensure sustainable exploitation and resilience. MARmaED will provide salary for 15 PhD projects.


The objective of the PhD research is to investigate trophic interactions at the functional level based on size. We expect that the research conduct will lead to new insights into ecosystem functioning dependent on size structure of the populations under climate change and sustainable exploitation useful to an ecosystem-based approach to marine and fisheries management.

Traditionally, trophic interactions are studied at the species level and based on population biomass and abundance. However, in marine organisms it makes sense to studying trophic interactions at the functional level based on size, because many important population dynamical processes such as predation and reproduction are fundamentally determined by body size. Arguably, climate change is an important reason to focus on size-based models. With warmer temperature, the size distribution among, and possibly within populations, is predicted to shift towards smaller body size. The associated changes in ecosystem processes and dynamics remain poorly understood. For example, it is generally poorly understood how climate influences size distributions in diets, which depend on how climate influences size distributions of predators and prey and size and prey preferences of predators. Many processes can be considered when studying size-based trophic interactions, among others the individual growth, prey selection, predation risk and spatial distribution and overlap. A step-wise statistical, hence data-driven, approach to explore these processes and build size-structured models will be developed. Integral projection models are particularly useful for parsimoniously and realistically modelling the dynamics. For this, available data on marine organisms (from sea mammals to plankton) in the Barents Sea will be used.

The work will be conducted at the Centre of Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis of the University of Oslo whithin the Marine Ecology group. However, during the course of the PhD project, the candidate will have three mandatory secondments: One in Denmark at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Aqua) to work on theoretical of size-based population dynamics and in Norway one at the University of Bergen to develop IBM models and one at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries to develop communication skills with decision makers.


1. Obligatory secondments (see above).

2. The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition of being a leading research faculty. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

3.The candidate must fulfill the requirement of eligibility dictate by EU; being resident in the host country not more than 12 months all in all during the last 36 months from the start of the PhD project. In addition, the candidate can not have a longer than 4 years research experience.

4. Applicants must hold a Master's degree or equivalent in Ecology. We seek a candidate with a background and/or strong interest in statistical modelling, demographic and spatial modelling and/or quantitative population modelling. Marine ecological knowledge and statistical programming will be an evaluation criteria. Applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system.


The application must  include:
  • Application letter
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
  • Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency for non-native speaker or non-EU/EEA citizen
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number). Recommendation letters will be very valuable.

For further information, please contact Dr. Joël Durant [joel.durant@ibv.uio.no].

Application will be done through Easycruit

The position starting date is from 10.10.2015 and no later than 01.03.2016.
By Joël Durant
Published Sep. 10, 2015 1:31 PM - Last modified Oct. 31, 2018 1:42 PM