PhD Scholarship in Fisheries Oceanography in Northern Seas at DTU Aqua

A PhD Scholarship in the area of fish population modelling/fisheries oceanography  is available within the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate and DTU Aqua.

Project description:
Small pelagic fish species such as herring, capelin and sandeel have important ecological roles in marine foodwebs as intermediaries between zooplankton and higher trophic level species such as bigger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. This project will investigate and compare how climatic and hydrographic variability influences linkages between the spring phytoplankton bloom, zooplankton and fish recruitment in different north Atlantic marine ecosystems. Life histories, physiological responses and behaviours (e. g., vertical migration) of fish early life history stages differ among species and regions, and in response to climatic forcing. It is hypothesized that this variability provides the scope for some species to benefit and others to suffer from contemporary and future climate variability and change, and that the potential winning and losing species could differ among geographic regions due to nonlinearities in species-specific responses.

These hypotheses can be investigated by developing process-based models of how fish early life history stages respond to past and expected future changes in seasonal plankton production dynamics, and in particular the links between the spring phytoplankton bloom, zooplankton and fish larvae. Model outputs can be compared with time series of observed fish data (e. g., abundances of 0-groups; growth; recruitment) for particular fish species, and can be used to make scenario forecasts of how different fish species in different regions could be influenced by future climate change. Expected results will be new insights into the processes affecting recruitment success of fish species and how these processes can lead to changes of geographic ranges of species under future climate change. The main fish species to be investigated will be pelagic species such as herring, capelin, and sandeel, and the geographic scope of the project will include waters near Iceland, Greenland, the Barents Sea, and Faroe Islands.

Applications should be submitted online no later than 23rd October 2011.

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