PhD Scholarship in Experimental Plankton Ecology, DTU, Denmark

Study in:Denmark
Deadline: 15 February 2018

PhD Scholarship in Experimental Plankton Ecology: Centre for Ocean Life ( offers two 3-year PhD fellowships in experimental plankton ecology within the general topic of trait-based Marine Ecology. The fellows will be employed at DTU Aqua (The National Institute for Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark).

Research projects

  1. Microbial feeding: mechanisms and trade-offs aims at elucidating mechanisms of prey encounter and capture in aquatic flagellates and to estimate the trade-offs associated with feeding and swimming. Flagellates are the most important grazers on marine bacteria and phytoplankton in the ocean, but their feeding mechanisms remain elusive. We will use a combination of direct observations with high-speed video-micrography, novel flow-visualisation techniques, and incubations to describe mechanisms and assess efficiency, energy expenditure, and predation risk associated with the principal feeding and motility modes in various types of flagellates. More background of the project can be found here. There will be another PhD student and a post doc also working on the topic.
  2. Defence in protistan plankton aims at describing important defence mechanisms in plankton organisms, and to quantify both the benefits and costs of defence. Many different defence mechanisms have been suggested, ranging from the production of toxins, employment of armour (shells, spines), and behavioural defences such as efficient escape mechanism, but in most cases experimental evidence is lacking. Currently we are working with toxicity and external shells as defence mechanisms in phytoplankton, using both modelling and experimental approaches. More information of the background of the project here.

For both projects there will be considerable freedom to formulate projects within the general frameworks described above and applicants are encouraged to present their own ideas and/or to contact Thomas Kiørboe to discuss specific projects.

Both projects are part of the vibrant, cross-disciplinary, and international research environment at the Centre for Ocean Life that is a Villum Kann Rasmussen Centre of Excellence. The centre is a collaborative effort to develop a fundamental understanding and predictive capability of marine ecosystems through the use of trait-based approaches. We currently have a group of about 20 young scientists associated the Centre (PhD and Postdocs). They are working on various aspects of marine life using diverse approaches (observational, experimental, theoretical) while collaborating through weekly science meetings, annual science retreats, numerous working groups, and collaborative projects. Their backgrounds are as diverse as are those of the PIs of the Centre, from physics and mathematics to biology and chemistry, and we spend considerable effort developing cross-disciplinary communication and projects since we believe that the potential for discovery and progress may be achieved by confronting the different disciplines.

We envisage a biologist or similar with interest in aquatic ecology and preferably with experience in experimentation with live plankton.

Candidates should hold a MSc degree (or something equivalent) in biology, engineering, or similar.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The successful candidate is expected to start summer 2018 or soonest thereafter. Candidates that complete their MSc before then can apply.

Further information
For further information about the positions and the projects please contact Professor Thomas Kiørboe (DTU Aqua, e-mail: or (for the microbial feeding project) Associate Professor Anders Andersen (DTU Physics, e-mail:

Please do not send applications to the above e-mail addresses and follow the electronic application and submission procedure as explained below.

You can read more about the Centre for Ocean Life at: Centre for Ocean Life and the National Institute of Aquatic Resources at: DTU Aqua.

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 15 February 2018.

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae and Publication list,
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Possible outline of project ideas
  • Other material that you would like to be included in the evaluation.
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master’s degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

Apply for this job

Apply no later than 15 February 2018
Apply for the job at DTU Aqua by completing the following form.

Apply online

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: