PhD position in deep-sea sponge microbiology

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GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation of public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90%) and the state of Schleswig-Holstein (10%) and is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine sciences. Currently GEOMAR disposes over an annual budget of approx. 72 million Euro and has approx. 950 employees.

The research unit Marine Microbiology of the research division Marine Ecology is offering a PhD-Position in the international Horizon 2020 funded project SponGES. Starting on June 1st, 2016, the position offers the possibility to attain a doctoral degree in natural sciences.

The newly founded EU project “SponGES” is dedicated to explore the ecologically vulnerable marine sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. An international and interdisciplinary consortium of researchers will explore aspects of biodiversity and biogeography, ecosystem function, and biotechnological potential of the elusive deep-sea sponge ground ecosystems.

The main task of the PhD project will be to study the sponge-associated microbiota with a particular focus on diversity and function within the context of the sponge host. Next generation sequencing methods including amplicon sequencing and metagenomics/metatranscriptomics will be used towards this goal. The student will have the opportunity to participate in oceanographic cruises, to collect sponge biomass, and extract genomic RNA and DNA for sequencing. The main emphasis will be on the bioinformatic processing and interpretation of NGS-generated data.

Skills in or the willingness to learn console-based bioinformatics are desirable. Knowledge of a programming language (e.g. python, perl, shell) will be an advantage. The person best suited for this position will have an interest in marine microbiology and in particular symbioses, and a willingness to learn and apply bioinformatics tools.

The student will be enrolled in the Integrated School of Ocean Sciences (ISOS) at Kiel University and will be supervised by Prof. U. Hentschel Humeida.

The position is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 and is for 3 years. The salary depends on qualification and could be up to the class E13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees. This is a part-time position according to 75% of a full-time equivalent. The position cannot be split.

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply. GEOMAR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the application process.

Please mention the keyword on the application and in the subject line. Please send your application for this post (motivation letter, CV, names of 2-3 references, academic record) not later than April 15th 2016 using the keyword PhD-Position SponGES to the following address:

Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Frau Jessica Stadil
Wischhofstr. 1 – 3
D-24148 Kiel

Do not hesitate to contact Ute Hentschel Humeida ( for informal inquiries.

GEOMAR is a member of the Helmholtz Association and the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM). For further information please visit or