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Exploring controls on seasonal timing of fish early life stages and the implications for fisheries production and climate change

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Bioscience programme. The position is available from 1 May 2020 or later.

Title:
Exploring controls on seasonal timing of fish early life stages and the implications for fisheries production and climate change

Research area and project description:
In seasonal environments, timing is everything: energy dynamics and production are controlled by how well predators can match their prey in space and time. This is thought to be particularly true for vulnerable larval life-stages of many fish, where limited parental investment means population survival depends on how well larvae match the timing of their food. There is an immediate need to characterize the controls on larval fish timing to develop improved models that can explain timing variability and describe how timing influences fish distribution and production, now and in the future.

With this motivation, the successful candidate will combine existing data with new field observations to develop models of larval fish timing in temperate waters.  The project will identify controls on fish early life history timing, develop models of seasonal larval fish timing, and compare model predictions to observations for nearshore waters. The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to confront models with predictions of future ocean conditions to generate hypotheses for how larval fish success and related ecosystem dynamics will change in the future. Outcomes of the project are expected to advance the predictive capabilities of models describing seasonal timing of larval fish that can be used to explain and predict ecosystem dynamics (including fisheries production) now and in the future.

The successful candidate will join Anna B. Neuheimer’s Biological Oceanography group that will be moving to AU as of 1 February 2020. Lab description: Mechanistic explanations of the causes and effects of biological variability have been challenged by unobserved players and many interacting forcing factors. Neuheimer’s lab overcomes these challenges by combining field observations with new modelling tools to provide mechanistic explanations of biological responses to the environment. Our hypothesis driven research involves the development and application of novel quantitative tools (statistical and mathematical models) to consolidate current theories on environmentally dependent dynamics.  These tools allow us to explain variability across space and time, identify knowledge gaps to direct future work, and predict dynamics under future conditions. Our main focus is explaining variability in marine plankton and fish in coastal and pelagic waters.  The project will develop from previous work on fish timing in the lab, e.g.

  • Neuheimer, A.B., B.R. MacKenzie, & M.R. Payne. 2018. Temperature-dependent adaptation allows fish to meet their food across their species' range. Science Advances 4:7, eaar4349.
  • Neuheimer, A.B., & B.R. MacKenzie. 2014. Explaining life history variation in a changing climate across a species’ range.  Ecology. 95:3364-3375.

Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master’s degree in Ecology, Biology, Oceanography or related field, with experience in marine ecology, biological oceanography, or other relevant disciplines. The student will be expected to curate and manage large datasets, as well as develop statistical and mathematical models to describe observed patterns. As such, previous experience with (or at least an interest in learning) a programming language such as R or Python will be needed. In addition, the student will be expected to plan and conduct fieldwork to sample ichthyoplankton in nearshore waters. Therefore, an interest in field and lab work will be needed, and proven abilities in this area are beneficial.

Place of employment and place of work:
The successful candidate will be employed by Aarhus University, and will initially be based at the Department of Bioscience - Aquatic Biology on the main campus of Aarhus University (Ole Worms Allé 1, 8000 Aarhus C).

Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Anna B. Neuheimer, currently Associate Professor, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, abneuheimer@aias.au.dk

 

Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at GSST is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From the August 2019 call, GSST will no longer accept the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. Ask the test centre to send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to www.phd.scitech.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here - Note, the online application system opens on 1 December 2019.
Choose February 2020 Call with deadline 1 February 2020 at noon (11.59 AM CET).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Bioscience'.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Exploring controls on seasonal timing of fish early life stages and the implications for fisheries production and climate change"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST Application Guide.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

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