PhD Scholarship position in the Polish National Science Centre project

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    Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot
    Natural sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)




- MsC in biology (specialization in oceanography/marine biology/molecular ecology/microbiology will be an advantage)

- Basic experience in molecular techniques (DNA extraction, PCR, High-throughput sequencing)

- Strong interest in bioinformatic and biostatistics tools for analysis of DNA sequence data

- High motivation for scientific work

- Very good English written and verbal communication skills

- Additional advantage: (co-)authorship of scientific paper and/or conference presentation

- Experience in field research and research cruises will be appreciated


Tasks description:

1. Preparation and conducting fieldwork, participation in research cruises in the Nordic Seas and Arctic

2. Collecting water samples and surface sediment samples for environmental DNA metabarcoding

3. Collecting sediment samples for paleogenomic analyses

4. Environmental DNA extraction, PCR amplification, preparation of metabarcoding libraries for high-throughput sequencing

5. Analysis of metabarcoding data

6. Data integration and biostatistics analyses

7. Writing scientific publications

8. Presentation of the results at international scientific conferences


Project’s description:

'Sedimentary ancient DNA - a new proxy to investigate the impact of environmental change on past and present biodiversity in Nordic Seas (NEEDED)'

Artic marine ecosystems are radically changing due to global warming. The impact of rapidly increasing sea surface temperature (SST) and retreating sea-ice on modern Arctic marine biodiversity has been extensively studied. However, much less is known about the evolution of Arctic biodiversity in postglacial period, especially regarding the impact of past climate change on the diversity of microbial eukaryotes and meiofauna (animals < 1mm), which play a crucial ecological role at the base of Arctic food webs.

In this project we will use environmental DNA metabarcoding applied to modern and fossil marine sediments collected at Svalbard, Greenland and Jan Mayen shelfs to reconstruct the history of marine life in Nordic Seas during the last 20,000 years. We will analyze water and surface sediment samples to check how well the extant marine diversity is preserved in sedimentary DNA archives. Then, we will analyze sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) preserved in selected sediment cores in order to explore biodiversity changes in Nordic Seas over time. By using multiple genetic markers, we will follow changes in composition of different groups of organisms, from microalgae to other single-cell eukaryotes and animals. We will integrate these historical biodiversity data with the information about environmental change provided by classical palaeoceanographic proxies. The results of our study will help understanding how the marine organisms responded to climate change in the past and whether this response is similar to what we observe today.

In particular, we will analyze the impact of climate change on biodiversity during the mid-Holocene Thermal Maximum, about 5’000-9’000 years ago and compare it to the current global warming.

The main scientific objective of the dissertation will be to test the hypothesis that the past increase of sea surface temperature in Nordic Seas was associated with the increase of biodiversity, lower productivity and reduced carbon burial.

What is funded

One scholarship: 4 000 PLN per month throughout the 36 months (3 years).

Start date: January 2021.


3 years (6 semesters)


The PhD position is available at within the cross-disciplinary research project 'Sedimentary ancient DNA - a new proxy to investigate the impact of environmental change on past and present biodiversity in Nordic Seas (NEEDED)', funded through the Norway and EEA Grants 2014–2021 under the Basic Research Programme operated by the National Science Centre.

Title of PhD project: 'Ancient environmental DNA: a new proxy of paleobiodiversity'.

The supervisors will be prof. Jan Pawłowski [janpawlowski@iopan.pl] and dr Joanna Pawłowska [pawlowska@iopan.pl], Institute of Oceanology PAN


Applying form:

email to: office@iopan.pl and copy to janpawlowski@iopan.pl with message title 'PhD student GRIEG NEEDED - DNA'

According to this position Candidate can be already affiliated to Doctoral School (can have a status of a PhD student) or must become a PhD student at the Doctoral School called Trójmiejska Szkoła Doktorska (https://www.imp.gda.pl /bip/trojmiejska-szkola-doktorska/).


Required documents:

1. Motivation letter

2. Detailed CV (including a brief description of research interests, previous employments, research achievements, and publication list)

3. Copy of Master’s diploma

4. Contact details of at least two references (letters of recommendation are optional)

5. Consent clause*

The candidates may be requested additional information or invited to an interview with representatives of the scholarship commission. The candidates that will not provide all required documents, will not be taken into consideration.


*Please attach a signed document with the following Consent clause:


I hereby consent to have my personal data processed by the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Science pursuant to Article 6 paragraph 1 letter a of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),for the purpose of carrying out a recruitment process for the position of PhD scholarship I also declare that I have read the information on the processing of personal data provided by the Institute in accordance with Article 13


......................... ..........................................

(place and date) (signature of the declarant)




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