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New postdoctoral position in ecological modelling

POSTDOCTORAL POSITION IN ECOLOGICAL MODELLING TO ASSESS THE IMPACT OF THE INVASIVE SNOW CRAB ON THE BARENTS SEA ECOSYSTEM

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA, Oslo) and Akvaplan-niva (APN, Tromsø), Norway

POSTDOCTORAL POSITION WITHIN THE EISA PROJECT
A Postdoc position for 24 months is available at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research connected to the research project EISA “Ecology and management of the invasive snow crab: Predicting expansion, impacts and sustainability in the Arctic under climate change” funded by the Norwegian Research Council under the MARINFORSK programme (2019-2022).

The position is available from 1st January 2020, for 24 months. The successful candidate will be employed by NIVA (head office in Oslo), and will join the Marine Biology department, but the postdoc will be based at the offices of Akvaplan-niva in Tromsø, where the modellers in the project are based.

EISA PROJECT
Only twenty-two years after it appeared in the eastern Barents Sea, the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) has rapidly spread and, in 2017, this invasive species was recorded off Svalbard. Because of its dual nature as an invasive species and potential exploitable resource, the snow crab’s expansion in the Barents Sea has important ecological, economic and political implications, both nationally and internationally. EISA will use state-of-the-art methods (including species distribution and ecosystem modelling, evolutionary genetics and machine learning) to provide empirical and modelling data on the snow crab’s dynamics in the Barents Sea, identify how it changes the structure and function of the benthic community, and predict broader impacts in the framework of climate change. EISA will answer 3 main questions addressed under 4 research work packages:

1) How does the snow crab affect the transfer of matter and energy to high trophic levels, and what are the predicted impacts on the ecosystem (WP1 & 3)?
2) Where does the snow crab come from and what do they eat as they expand (WP2)?
3) How will the tradeoffs between ecology and socio-economics drive the development of sustainable management measures in the Barents Sea (WP4)?

POSTDOC TASKS
The postdoc will work in an international marine research team focusing on the modelling and prediction of the distribution and impact of the snow crab in the Barents Sea ecosystem. The postdoc is expected to:
1. Actively engage with the partners in all workpackages of the project, to ensure that all data necessary for the modelling activities are collected and processed accordingly.
2. Work closely with the ecological modellers in the project (Uni. Tromsø, Akvaplan-niva, ICM-CSIC).
3. Develop his/her own independent research within the goals of EISA.
4. Write at least 2 first-author papers per year and present the results in at least 1 international conference.
5. Assist the project coordinator with overall coordination tasks, including the maintenance of the project website, data management, annual meetings and communication.
6. Conduct regular short stays in NIVA’s main office in Oslo as well as working visits to ICM-CSIC in Barcelona, Spain.
7. Participate in the EISA cruise to the Barents Sea in summer 2019, if he/she is available.

SCIENTIFIC QUALIFICATIONS
We are seeking a candidate with the following professional qualifications:
• PhD and research experience in marine ecology;
• Ecological modeling expertise using ECOPATH with ECOSIM and network analyses;
• Expertise using Species Distribution modelling approaches;
• Knowledge or interest in machine-learning analyses and methods;
• Expertise in working and managing large data sets from different sources;
• Proven expertise in writing scientific publications on a high international level;
• Capacity to lead independent research;
• Excellent English communication skills, both verbally and in writing.
• Background in introduced species or ecosystem approach to fisheries management would be considered advantageous.

PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS
We are seeking an enthusiastic, goal-oriented candidate with good communication skills, who can demonstrate ability to work in a broad interdisciplinary and international research group and project. You should be able to work in a team of researchers with different backgrounds, but also to propose and develop independent research within the project’s framework.

NIVA OFFERS

Challenging tasks at the leading national water research institute with a comprehensive international network of contacts. • Office and lab space at Akvaplan-niva in Tromsø, where the postdoc will benefit from the close proximity to the modelling experts, and Barents Sea expertise. • Stimulating work environment with capable and dedicated employees. • A head office at CIENS (The Oslo Centre for Interdisciplinary Environmental and Social Research) centrally located near the University of Oslo. • Competitive conditions and salaries, pension plans and insurance benefits.

APPLICATION PROCESS

https://201703.webcruiter.no/Main/Recruit/Public/4051789397?lang=EN&showExpired=False

• Application deadline: 30/04/2019
• Additional information about the EISA project can be sent upon request.

 

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Opportunity to develop a MSc thesis on Kelp Ecology

Under the project KELPEX (Kelp export: fuel for adjacent communities in changing artic ecosystems? http://www.niva.no/kelpex) we are offering a MSc thesis on kelp ecology.

KELPEX is a multidisciplinary project integrating research in kelp forest, biodiversity, coastal and deep-sea ecology and modelling, to determine the role played by kelp export in shaping the structure and function (trophic webs) of adjacent ecosystems to kelp forests, both shallow and deep, in arctic Norway. KELPEX will quantify experimentally kelp production and export (WP1) and the effect of kelp export will be assessed in shallow-water (WP2) and deep-sea (WP3) communities. We will integrate all results from the field and lab experiments into newly developed ecological models (WP4). KELPEX will take a bulk step forward to determine the role played by kelp export in fuelling adjacent habitats, including effects on benthic ecosystem services (e.g. sustaining commercially exploited species) and will develop a predictive tool from which to assess ecosystem change associated with kelp regime shifts. KELPEX results will thus provide robust scientific knowledge to support decision making and management of arctic ecosystems under different natural and climatic stressors, addressing Norway’s strategic priorities for the Arctic. KELPEX is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (2016-2018) and includes an international team of researchers and students from Norway, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Australia.

The Master Project will be develop under WP4 (Ecotrophic Modelling, http://www.niva.no/kelpex/wp-4) to quantify main structural and functional features of shallow and deep ecosystems associated with kelp export. Ecological modelling has emerged as a highly suitable tool to integrate available biological data with the final objective to obtain an overall picture of how ecosystems are structured and how they function. This overall picture is the first step to move towards the development of future scenarios for natural ecosystems. In KELPEX we will use a combination of modelling techniques to advance on the knowledge on how the shallow and deep ecosystems associated with kelp exports are structured and how the function under present conditions and future change. Previous studies using EwE models in Jurien Bay Marine Park (Australia) demonstrated a clear influence of kelp on food web dynamics although the role of kelp production export to adjacent ecosystems is unknown to a larger extent. To develop the ecological models we will integrate data and results obtained during field work and laboratory experiments, in addition to other information available from the literature and previous monitoring and sampling campaigns. Experts on the ecosystems will be consulted to retrieve their knowledge on main species occurring in the ecosystems, main drivers and main historical changes.

Contact: Marta Coll (mcoll at icm.csic.es) for more information