Position available for a PhD student to work on multiple stress effects on North Atlantic deep water sponges

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PhD-project at Wageningen University: Multiple stress effects on deep-sea sponges

Part of EU Horizon2020 project SponGES - Deep-sea Sponge Grounds Ecosystems of the North Atlantic: an integrated approach towards their preservation and sustainable exploitation.
Deep-sea sponge-dominated communities occur widespread throughout the North Atlantic in areas such as shelves, slopes, seamounts, mid-ocean ridges, canyons and fjords, areas that are frequently used for fishing and other human activities. The biodiversity, ecological importance and biotechnological potential of these sponge-dominated communities is assumed to be similar to or even higher than that of other deep-sea ecosystems such as cold-water coral reefs or vents/seeps systems. However, in contrast to those, sponge grounds have so far received relatively little scientific or conservation attention.
The overall objective of the EU project SponGES is to develop an ecosystem-based approach for the preservation and sustainable exploitation of deep-sea sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. To achieve this overall objective, several aspects of the sponge ground ecosystem will be studied. One of these aspects is the potential effect of changes in temperature, pH, siltation and exposure to oil-derived hydrocarbons, on the functioning of the sponge ground ecosystems. At Wageningen University, the successful candidate will execute experimental studies on North Atlantic deep water sponge species tot test simultaneous effects of multiple environmental factors on their performance. This work will be performed at the Marine Animal Ecology group of Wageningen University, in close collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (The Netherlands), the University of Bergen (Norway) and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada).

We ask

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate that can offer us:

  • An MSc in Marine Biology or related discipline
  • Experience in working with experimental marine systems
  • Experience in working with sponges or other sedentary invertebrates
  • Good skills in experimental design, data analysis and scientific writing


More information regarding the procedure: