Vacancy for MSc-students

Antarctic phytoplankton in a changing world and its consequences for the lower pelagic food web

Despite phytoplankton, viruses and zooplankton grazers being key players in aquatic ecosystems, only sparse knowledge exists of their seasonal and interactive role in the Antarctic waters. Given the global interest in the Antarctic Peninsula for its ecological importance to the food web, and for the climate change-induced environmental changes occurring there, it is timely to study the following barely explored objectives: (1) the temporal dynamics of phytoplankton, viruses and zooplankton in the coastal waters of the western Antarctic Peninsula, (2) determine viral lysis rates of phytoplankton and compare to micro- and mesozooplankton grazing, (3) examine to what extent viral infection affects the lipid composition of phytoplankton in field and laboratory and (4) establish how changing phytoplankton community structure and biochemical composition controls the lipid composition and overwintering strategies of dominant calanoid copepods. This project is a synergistic study on important interactive processes in the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula that are experiencing rapid environmental change. It contains two 5-month field campaigns on the British research station Rothera, one during Austral spring and summer 2012 and one in 2013.

What are we looking for?
We are looking for a highly motivated MSc-student with good practical skills and a background in Marine Biology to join the PhD-student on the project during one of the field campaigns. It’s great, but not mandatory, if you are experienced with one or more of the following research topics/techniques: microbiological lab methods, flow cytometry, zooplankton grazing, field research / cruise experience. The time period of the field work: end of October till April 2012. However, there is a mandatory training at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK, in September and also the student has to be trained beforehand in the techniques used in the field. Ideally, the student is also involved in analysis of those samples that have to be brought back to the home lab upon return from the field work. Therefore, we foresee the duration of your project to be approximately 9 months.

Contact Dr. Corina Brussaard (; phone 0222-369513)
or Dr. Claire Evans (
Willem Barentsz Poolinstituut

Bundeling van kennis, onderzoek en onderwijs over de Noord- en de Zuidpool






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