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  • Ph.D. scholarship for studying foraging ecology of an Arctic seabird

    • Employer: University of Gdańsk
      Location: Svalbard, Arctic
      Country: Poland
      Last Date to Apply: 10/19/2022
      Open Until Filled: No

    We are seeking a PhD candidate for the scientific project “What really matters for a High-Arctic zooplanktivorous seabird foraging in rapidly changing environment – prey size or energy content?”.

    Location: The PhD student will be based at the Faculty of Biology, University of Gdańsk, Poland. Fieldwork will be conducted on Spitsbergen (European Arctic)

    Project objectives: The primary aim of the project is to investigate foraging ecology of a pelagic seabird, the Little Auk Alle alle, nesting in the High Arctic (Spitsbergen).

    The aim of this study is to:

    1) comprehensively characterize the Little Auks foraging areas and behaviour, applying modern technologies (GPS-tracking, zooplankton laser counter and underwater camera, remote sensing, video-recording);

    2) compare energetic values of the two sibling Calanus species and verify the commonly interpreted selectivity of Little Auks for C. glacialis;

    3) build predictive models of future Little Auk foraging habitat conditions based on energy- oriented (not size-oriented) prey selectivity.

    Tasks: Successful candidate will conduct their Ph.D. study being supervised by Dariusz Jakubas or Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas from POLar Ecology Group (https://polarecologygroup.wordpress.com/) at University of Gdańsk in Poland. They will work in the field on Spitsbergen (Arctic) during ~2.5 months (June-August) in two seasons, in a small research team. Field work will include nest searching, bird catching and handling (marking/measuring), loggers deployment, collection of diet and feather samples. Fieldwork will be conducted both at day and night hours. Analytical part of the project will include analyses of the collected materials (molecular sexing, analysis of video material), data wrangling and complex statistical analyses (spatial analyses, randomization, etc), preparation of manuscripts and conference presentations. Dissertation will consist of few papers published in high-impacted journals.

    Funding: A grant from the National Centre of Science, Poland covering costs of the fieldwork. The successful candidate will be awarded a Ph.D. scholarship for three years 5000 Polish Zloty gross per month (~ 3600 net; no other funds provided).

    How to apply?
    Interested candidates should contact Prof. Dariusz Jakubas (biodj@univ.gda.pl) or Dr. hab. Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas (biokwj@univ.gda.pl) at the University of Gdańsk appending:

    1)  CV with scientific achievements and experience including papers published in scientific journals, awards, scholarships, participation in workshops, internships, scientific projects, etc.
    2)  cover letter detailing reasons and motivation for applying for this specific project.

    3) two letters of recommendation from a previous supervisor and/or collaborator (with an email address to contact them).

    Candidate may be asked to participate in an interview conducted via internet communication platform (Teams/Skype).


    Deadline for applications: 20 October 2022

    Final decision: 4 November 2022.

    In the case of not finding the candidate fulfilling requirements, or resignation or disqualification of the successful candidate, the second recruitment will be organised.

    The next step for the successful candidate is recruitment for Doctoral School of Natural Sciences of University of Gdańsk. The detailed information here:



    Doctoral School enrollment will start in December and regular classes (and so scholarship) at the beginning of 2023. The first field season July-August 2023.

    Basic requirements

    - M.Sc. degree in biology, ecology or similar sciences (with an appropriate diploma in English or Polish);

    - fluent English enabling communication and scientific writing;

    - highly motivation and experience in fieldwork with birds: searching for nests, catching, measuring, banding etc;

    - minimum 8 hours per day during working days in Poland (with a computer) and few hours daily (including night hours) every day or on some days (depending on weather) during 2-3 months in the Arctic (including fieldwork, work with a computer and in a laboratory);

    - Good health (both physical and mental); intensive fieldwork in two seasons (2-3 months each) in the Arctic, in a small multicultural team, in condition of isolation, low temperature, high winds;

    - capability to work both in the team and individually;

    - high ethical standards, reliability, precision, and persistence in fieldwork, lab work and manuscripts preparation;

    - candidate pass successfully through Doctoral Study recruitment.

    Additional candidate features  

    - experience in publication preparation documented by authored/co-authored papers;
    - knowledge of statistical methods;

    - experience in work in R environment (very welcomed);

    - experience in GIS analyses highly welcomed;

    - experience in laboratory work (molecular sex identification will be a part of the study);

    - high ethical standards, reliability, precision, and persistence in fieldwork, lab work and manuscript preparation;

    - sense of humour and open attitude;

    - good conduct (certificate of good conduct is required for applying for borrowing a rifle for scaring off polar bears); carrying a rifle during fieldwork is mandatory on Spitsbergen.

    Additional information:

    The application must include the following statement: “I hereby give consent for my personal data included in my application to be processed for the purposes of the recruitment process under the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).”

    The applications will be considered by a selection committee according to the regulations about scientific scholarships in research projects financed by the National Science Centre, Poland  https://ncn.gov.pl/sites/default/files/pliki/uchwaly-rady/2019/uchwala25_2019-zal1_ang.pdf

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