PhD Position in Marine Sciences

University of Gothenburg Department of Marine Sciences


PhD Position in Marine Sciences with Focus on Ecology and Management of Shallow Coastal Ecosystems

Ref PAR 2021/1560


The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 53 500 students and 6 500 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

PhD in Marine Sciences with focus on ecology and management of shallow coastal ecosystems

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, 4 years

Extent: 100 %

Location: Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg

The Department of Marine Sciences at the Faculty of Science, University of Gothenburg, was recently launched (July 1, 2015) with the purpose to achieve the vision of "A University with marine research, teaching and cooperation of the highest international class" ( The department has about 110 employees - researchers, teachers, PhD students, technicians and administrators. The department carries out teaching and research in the various marine specializations, biology, oceanography, chemistry, marine geology, conservation of underwater cultural heritage, and environmental science. The Department is situated in Gothenburg and at the University’s research stations at Tjärnö and Kristineberg. This position is placed in Gothenburg.

Project description                            

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD-student in marine ecology to address both basic and applied research questions related to ecology and management of shallow coastal ecosystems.

Seagrass meadows are threatened ecosystems in many parts of the world, and along the Swedish NW coast over 60% of eelgrass meadows have vanished since the 1980s. In many areas, mats of macroalgae that drift on the bottom presently occupy areas formerly covered by eelgrass meadows. These algal mats are dominated by free-living morphs of perennial species normally found on hard substrates, i.e. by Fucus spp. and Furcellaria sp., which appear to have increased dramatically in distribution since the 1980s. They presently cover 100s of hectares of shallow soft sediment bottoms where they effectively prevent natural recovery and restoration efforts of eelgrass (Moksnes et al. 2018).

Although these free-living morphs have become a dominating habitat in many coastal areas, very little is presently known about their ecology and function in the ecosystem, e.g. how the mats are created, disperse and change in distribution over seasons and years, if they reproduce sexually and differ genetically from sessile morphs, how they are used by fish and invertebrates, how they impact rooted vegetation, infauna and sediment chemistry, and in the end affect ecosystem services provided by shallow coastal ecosystems. Little is also known regarding how this habitat should me managed in situation where eelgrass losses continue along the coast.

We are looking for a PhD-candidate that would be excited to address these questions, and interested to work together in a research group in collaboration with coastal managers from national agencies. Since the work will require field work, you should be happy to work in the field, including work in and under water. The project will be tuned to the interest and background of a successful candidate, and could include many of the mentioned research questions or focus on a few. It is fully funded by the Department of Marine Science, which allows more freedom than externally funded projects. The project and the candidate will become an integrated part of the transdisciplinary research group Zorro (, which will provide support for field work and laboratory analyses. The candidate should be prepared to participate in other research activities in the group (e.g. eelgrass restoration, remote sensing of submerged habitats), and to collaborate with coastal mangers and stakeholders in the project.


Moksnes P-O, Eriander L, Infantes E, Holmer M. 2018. Local regime shifts prevent natural recovery and restoration of lost eelgrass beds along the Swedish west coast. Estuaries and Coasts. 41:1712–1731. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-018-0382-y.


The qualifications for education on a doctoral level are: degree in advanced level, at least 240 university ECTS, of which 60 are on an advanced level, or in another way acquired similar knowledge. Only applicants who are admitted to the postgraduate level may be hired. Upon appointment the degree of ability to successfully complete the PhD program must first be evaluated. Only applicants who are admitted to the PhD program at the Dep. of Marine Sciences may be hired.

Qualification requirements and meriting skills

The successful applicant will be self-motivated, solution oriented, curious and interested to collaborate within a larger research team. You should have a relevant exam in marine ecology/biology or equivalent, and have good communication skills in English (written and spoken). Documented knowledge in topics relevant for the project, and skills to design and carry out scientific studies, including scientific writing are important merits. Experience of independently organizing and carrying out field work using smaller boats, and working under water using snorkeling or diving are also important skills for the position. Experience in mapping submerged habitats using flying drones, sonar-techniques and drop-video, and using softwares for image and GIS-analyses are also meriting, as is sampling and analyzing flora, infauna and epifauna (taxonomic knowledge) and sediment (carbon and nutrient content and processes) as well as experience with genetic tools.

We want all candidates to include a short (2-3 page) summary of what they think are the most interesting research questions for the project and why, and how they would like address these questions during a PhD. This summary will play a central part of the evaluation.

Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Science, specializing in Marine Sciences. The education runs for four years of fulltime studies, containing three years of thesis work and one year of academic education (i.e. course work and literature studies). A selection of courses at the Department/Faculty is available, but national/international courses can also be selected. Some teaching and/or course administration can be included which extends the contract to the same extent. You will be employed at University of Gothenburg, and salary follows the regulations at University of Gothenburg. In addition to pursuing his/her own research studies, PhD students may be required to perform other duties, such as teaching, research and administrative work according to special regulations.


Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80. The main assessment is an judgement for the applicant to successfully complete the PhD education.

Appointment Procedure

Please apply online.
The following should be included:

  • A short cover letter in English describing the applicant ́s motivation for the position, how the applicant meets the selection criteria, and how the application is well suited for the proposed work (max 2 pages).
  • A short summary in English of what the applicant thinks are the most interesting research questions for the project and why, and how they would like address these questions during a PhD (max 3 pages).
  • An attested list of qualifications (CV)
  • Examination certificates and transcript of courses with grades.
  • Relevant publications, including accepted academic papers and master theses.
  • Contact information (phone, email, relation) of two personal references

The highest ranked applicants will be contacted for interviews.

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity. Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

For further information please contact

Dr. Per Moksnes (main supervisor)

Senior lecturer in marine ecology and management


Labour union

Information on union representatives can be found here apply

Closing date


In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.


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