PhD: The ecosystem and socio-economic context of North Atlantic cod recovery under climate change and exploitation pressure

Universität Hamburg, Germany, invites applications for a Research Associate for the project “MARine MAnagement and Ecosystem Dynamics under climate change [MARmaED]”. MARmaED is an international and interdisciplinary network that unifies specific and complementary competences in marine sciences from Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and France to investigate how the cumulative stress from biodiversity loss, climate change and harvesting will affect Europe’s complex marine systems and the consequences for optimal resource management.

The specific PhD project of this position will investigate “The ecosystem and socio-economic context of North Atlantic cod recovery under climate change and exploitation pressure”. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a top predator and key component of North Atlantic marine ecosystems. Many of these commercially important populations have collapsed due to overfishing and climate-induced changes in physical oceanographic conditions. North Atlantic cod stocks are well investigated, but usually either with a focus on bottom-up or top-down effects on food web dynamics. Moreover socio-economic effects are usually considered largely separate from the ecological ones. A holistic investigation of cod population dynamics under climate and fishing effects is hence largely lacking. The project will built on applying Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) a statistical technique developed in social science but now increasingly applied in ecology. SEM allows for simultaneous estimation of relationships within a network of interactions and evaluating their relative importance. Here population dynamics (biomass, recruitment, growth and mortality) will be investigated for cod stocks with a contrasting history, specifically Eastern Baltic (unknown state), North Sea (overfished) and Barents Sea cod (sustainably fished).

During the course of the PhD project, the candidate will have three mandatory secondments: 1) In Norway at Oslo University to work on statistical modelling techniques; 2) in the Netherlands at Wageningen University to work on bio-economic modelling, and 3) at the Marine Stewardship Council in Berlin to work on fisheries ceritifcation processes.

A university degree in a relevant subject. Candidates for these fellowships must fulfill the requirements of eligibility dictated by the European Union. Specifically the candidate should not have been resident in the host country (i.e. Germany) for more than 12 months during the last 36 months before the start of the PhD project. In addition, the candidate cannot have research experience longer than 4 years.

We seek a candidate with a background in marine ecology/fisheries ecology and strong numerical skills and interests, specifically in statistical modelling using the statistical analysis and programming language R. The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The application deadline is 15 October 2015.

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