PhD Positon in Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecology

University of Gothenburg Faculty of Science


PhD Student in Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecology

Diary id:PAR 2020/700
Employment level:Fixed term
Location:Department of Marine Sciences
Apply by:2020-06-28

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 49 000 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from all around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The Department of Marine Sciences ( is Sweden's most complete marine research and education environment, and is one of the few such organizations in Europe. The Department of Marine Sciences, established in 2015, brings together expertise in physical oceanography, marine chemistry, marine biology, marine geology and marine cultural conservation. The department thus has excellent conditions for meeting future challenges in marine research and education. The Department of Marine Sciences is located and has permanent staff in three locations: in Gothenburg and at the research stations Kristineberg and Tjärnö in Bohuslän.

Project description

Sediment-water processes are essential for the functioning of marine ecosystems. How these processes are mediated by biotic factors is a vital question in ecology, but to date the role of meiofauna in regulating biogeochemical functions is not well studied. Meiofauna is the most abundant and diverse faunal group in benthic ecosystems and has been shown to significantly alter carbon mineralization, denitrification and sulfide distribution. Meiofauna dominates in terms of biomass in the deep sea and in hypoxic areas. This PhD project will investigate how meiofauna influences vital ecosystem functions combining methods in biogeochemistry and molecular ecology with the support of a strong interdisciplinary team. The candidate will extensively use microelectrodes and planar optodes for studying chemical gradients; will biomanipulate meiofauna abundances and setup sediment mesocosms to study solute exchange; will use amplicon sequencing and metagenomics to understand meiofauna and microbial community composition and activity in deep-sea and shelf sediments.

Employment conditions and evaluation criteria

The candidate will have access to both biogeochemistry and molecular ecology laboratories located at the University of Gothenburg, Stockholm University and University of Southern Denmark. The work will be conducted within an international and transdisciplinary group, which welcomes applicants from all biology, chemistry, ecology and geology disciplines.

We are looking for a highly motivated and independent person with good knowledge of biogeochemistry and/or genetics, to successfully conduct their doctoral studies in science with a focus on marine chemistry and biology.

The applicant is expected to have a deep interest in research in these disciplines, willingness to work in a team, ambition to learn new tasks, and to have good abilities to handle data and to communicate orally and on paper with peers.

Experience with microelectrode measurements, meiofauna ecology, sediment and water incubation, molecular ecology, scientific writing, and programming are merited. The successful applicant in theory will be self-motivated, solution oriented, curious and passionate about science. Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an interview in person or via Skype.


Basic qualifications for a PhD program in Sweden are given by a completed degree at an advanced level, completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits are obtained at an advanced level in or outside the country. The applicant must prove skills to work at sea and in the laboratory and have a relevant exam in biology, chemistry, ecology, geology, or equivalent.

Key references

  • Bonaglia S, Nascimento FJA, Bartoli M, Klawonn I, Bruchert V (2014). Meiofauna increases bacterial denitrification in marine sediments. Nat Commun 5, 5133.
  • Bonaglia S, Hedberg J, Marzocchi U, Iburg S, Glud RN, Nascimento FJA (2020). Meiofauna improve oxygenation and accelerate sulfide removal in the seasonally hypoxic seabed. Mar Environ Res 159: 104968.
  • Broman E, Bonaglia S, Holovachov O, Marzocchi U, Hall POJ, Nascimento FJA (2020). Uncovering diversity and metabolic spectrum of animals in dead zone sediments. Comms Biol 3: 106.


As a PhD student at the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, the candidate will: participate in international sea expeditions; design and perform experiments; analyze data in molecular ecology; disseminate results in peer-reviewed journals and elsewhere; write a PhD thesis; teaching may be included.


  • Employment form: Fixed-term employment, 4 years, full-time. Extensions may be available when teaching.
  • Placement: Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • First day of employment: Upon agreement.

For further information about the position

Dr. Stefano Bonaglia (Assistant Professor)

Telephone: 073 741 24 97


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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