PhD position: Impact of natural methane and CO2 seepage on cold-water corals and sponges

Institute of Marine Research


February 4, 2022


PhD position: Impact of natural methane and CO2 seepage on cold-water corals

and sponges

About the position

The Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Benthic Recourses and Processes group is advertising a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship investigating the effects of the release of methane and carbon dioxide, from deep-sea geological seeps, on the physiology and ecology of cold-water coral (CWC) and sponge ecosystems. The main objective of this project is to generate new knowledge on how the release of greenhouse gases (CH4 and CO2) from underwater reservoirs of hydrocarbons may alter biogeochemical processes and impact the health of local ecosystems. Most of the project will focus on the CWC reefs aggregation at Hola (Northern Norway) and benefit from data collected by the cabled observatory (LoVe).

About the project

The successful candidate will be based in Bergen, Norway, and work as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration, between the University of Tromsø, IMR and energy industry partners, in the research project Environmental impact of Methane seepage and sub-seabed characterization At LoVe-Node 7 (EMAN7) funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Starting date: March 2022 (can be negotiated).

Main tasks

The successful candidate will use optical mapping and photomosaics from underwater ROV surveys to investigate changes in CWC reef community composition and the physiological and biological health status of coral between areas with known differences in carbonate chemistry. The physiological responses and possible acclimatization/adaptation of key ecosystem engineers to these natural gradients in carbonate chemistry will also be assessed using in situ and laboratory experiments.

In addition to the practical work related to the studies the PhD candidate is expected to publish his/her findings in international peer reviewed journals, attend and present their research at international conferences and strengthen national and international collaborative research activities within this field.

Qualification requirements

a Master´s degree in marine biology or related field

Desired competencies
  • experience of working on scientific cruises
  • conducting underwater video surveys and analysis of benthic community data
  • determining physiological endpoints (e.g. oxygen uptake)
  • working with corals and sponges
  • investigating the effect of climate change on marine organisms
  • working up scientific data for publication in peer reviewed international journals
  • The working language at IMR is Norwegian, and good communication skills in Norwegian will be beneficial for both the applicant and IMR. Sufficient progression in learning to speak and write Norwegian is expected during the first two years of employment. If necessary, language training will be offered and costs incurred will be reimbursed based upon completion of the language course.

    Personal competencies

    At the IMR we believe that personality affects how we work, communicate and thrive in the work place. For this position we are interested in candidates

  • who are motivated and hard-working with a good understanding of benthic ecology
  • who can work well independently and as part of a diverse and interdisciplinary team
  • who work well with others for lengths of time in confined surroundings, e.g. on board ship or during remote flied work
  • with good time management
  • Inclusion, Diversity and Affirmative Action

    The Institute of Marine Research welcomes all qualified candidates to apply for the position, regardless of age, gender, functional ability, nationality or ethnical background. We are an Inclusive Working Life Enterprise, and we aim to facilitate for applicants with disabilities.

    Upon receiving applications from candidates with reduced abilities, gaps in CV or immigrant background, we will invite at least one qualified candidate from each category to an interview. In order to be considered for affirmative action, certain requirements should be met, and you must specify that you wish to be considered for the action when applying. Please read more here.

    We offer
  • the opportunity to work in one of Europe's leading research institutions
  • a challenging and creative work environment
  • facilities centered near Bergen City Center
  • flexible work hours

  • public sector occupational pension through the Norwegian Public Service Pension Funds

  • cabins available for rent at decent prices
  • sport facilities
  • welfare benefits
  • Aditional information

    The Institute of Marine Research offers a government-regulated salary as “1017 stipendiat”, an excellent pension scheme through the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, and other welfare benefits (see www. for more information).

    Please submit your application electronically through this site, enclosing a full CV, copies of relevant recommendations, academic transcripts and a list of publications.

    Please note that information about applicants may be made public even if an applicant has requested to be exempted from the list of applicants. Applicants will be notified about this in advance.

    For more information, please contact project coordinator at IMR Samuel Rastrick ( / + 47 474 89 401) or Carsten Hvingel: / + 47 959 80 565, head of the Benthic Recourses and processes research group.

    You can also visit our web site at www.

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    About the Institute of Marine Research

    The Institute of Marine Research (IMR) is one of the largest research institutes of its kind in Europe, with approximately 1,000 employees and a wide range of research facilities and laboratories of high international standard. Our main activities are research, advisory work and monitoring. The IMR owns and operates six research vessels. Our main offices are in Bergen, and we have a department in Tromsø, and research stations in Matre, Austevoll and Flødevigen.

    The IMR's aim is to be a leading supplier of knowledge relating to the sustainable management of the resources in our marine ecosystems, both nationally and internationally, and the whole food chain from the sea to the table. This includes the marine environment, fish nutrition, and safe and nutritious sea food.


    4th February 2022


    Institute of Marine Research




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