Post-doc position in the Polish National Science Centre project

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    Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot
    Natural sciences
    Recognised Researcher (R2) (PhD holders or equivalent who are not yet fully independent)



1. PhD in biology with specialization in molecular ecology/microbiology/environmental genomics/paleogenomics

2. Strong experience in high-throughput sequencing data generation and analysis (metabarcoding and/or metagenomics)

3. Excellent knowledge of statistical tools applied to microbial ecology

4. Proficiency in bioinformatics and biostatistics

5. High motivation for scientific work

6. Very good English written and verbal communication skills

7. Authorship/coauthorship of scientific papers and conference presentations


Tasks description:

1. Analysis of recent and paleo-metabarcoding data generated during the project using standard tools for analysis of high-throughput sequencing data

2. Adapting algorithms and statistical methods for the processing of metabarcoding data of particular taxonomic groups (e.g. foraminifera)

3. Curating barcoding and metabarcoding databases of selected taxa targeted by the project

4. Teaching and assistance in using bioinformatic tools applied to environmental genomics and paleogenomics

5. Maintenance and updating of bioinformatics tools routinely used in the lab.

6. Writing scientific publications

7. Presentation of the results at international scientific conferences


Project’s description:

The project aims at investigating the impact of environmental changes on past and present biodiversity in Nordic Seas using sedimentary ancient DNA. It is well known that the modern Artic marine ecosystems are radically changing due to global warming. However, much less is known about the evolution of Arctic biodiversity in postglacial period, especially regarding the impact of past climate change on the diversity of microbial eukaryotes and meiofauna (animals < 1mm), which play a crucial ecological role at the base of Arctic food webs.

In this project we will use environmental DNA metabarcoding applied to modern and fossil marine sediments collected at Svalbard, Greenland and Jan Mayen shelfs to reconstruct the history of marine life in Nordic Seas during the last 20’000 years. We will analyze water and surface sediment samples to check how well the extant marine diversity is preserved in sedimentary DNA archives. Then, we will analyze sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) preserved in selected sediment cores in order to explore biodiversity changes in Nordic Seas over time. By using multiple genetic markers, we will follow changes in composition of different groups of organisms, from microalgae to other single-cell eukaryotes and animals. We will integrate these historical biodiversity data with the information about environmental change provided by classical palaeoceanographic proxies. The results of our study will help understanding how the marine organisms responded to climate change in the past and whether this response is similar to what we observe today. In particular, we will analyze the impact of climate change on biodiversity during the mid-Holocene Thermal Maximum, about 5’000-9’000 years ago and compare it to the current global warming.

The main scientific objective of the project will be to test the hypothesis that the past increase of sea surface temperature in Nordic Seas was associated with the increase of biodiversity, lower productivity and reduced carbon burial. The main challenges are (1) to assess the capacity of DNA preserved in marine sediments to archive the biodiversity changes at the surface and in the water column; (2) to identify the potential bioindicators of paleoenvironmental changes in metabarcoding data; and (3) to integrate multitaxon paleometabarcoding data with the available paleoceanographic proxies from sedimentary, microfossil and geochemical record in order to reconstruct changes in eukaryotic biodiversity and correlate them to global warming and carbon burial.

What is funded

Salary: 10 000 PLN gross per month throughout the 36 months (3 years), with the possibility of extension for 12 months.

Start date: 1st October 2020.


36 months (3 years), with the possibility of extension for 12 months


The Postdoc position is available at within the cross-disciplinary research project “Sedimentary ancient DNA - a new proxy to investigate the impact of environmental change on past and present biodiversity in Nordic Seas (NEEDED)”, funded through the Norway and EEA Grants 2014–2021 under the Basic Research Programme operated by the National Science Centre.


Required documents:

1. CV;

2. Copy of the Master’s and PhD diplomas;

3. Cover letter;

4. List of scientific publications, participation in research projects, conference attendance, awards etc.

5. Contact information

6. Consent clause*


Applying form:

To apply, please send an email to Jan Pawlowski (janpawlowski@iopan.pl) with a short letter of motivation, a detailed CV (including a brief description of research interests, previous employments and publication list), and contact details of at least two references (letters of recommendation are optional).

The candidates may be requested additional information or invited to an interview with representatives of the scholarship commission.


*Please attach a signed document with the following Consent clause:

I hereby consent to have my personal data processed by the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Science pursuant to Article 6 paragraph 1 letter a of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),for the purpose of carrying out a recruitment process for the position of PhD scholarship I also declare that I have read the information on the processing of personal data provided by the Institute in accordance with Article 13 GDPR.

......................... ..........................................

(place and date) (signature of the declarant)


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