PhD student: Benthic ecology - Adaptation of macrozoobenthic species to fluctuating oxygen concentrations and their effect on benthic fluxesExternal

Department Marine Geology of the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW)

News Overview

Contact: Prof. Dr. Helge W. Arz
E-mail: bewerbung.biologie [at]
website: Job webpage
Deadline: October 30, 2018

The position within the project “The Benguela Upwelling System under climate change – Effects of variability in physical forcing on carbon and oxygen budgets – EVAR” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The working place is Rostock-Warnemünde and partly Namibia.

The core areas of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) have been subject to studies concerning ecological consequences of permanent low oxygen. The boundaries of OMZs, however, have not been considered as intensely even though they gain more and more importance with climate change having the potential to expand OMZs. Several studies came to the conclusion that organisms that are able to cope with on the one hand potentially long-lasting hypoxia periods and on the other hand intense oxygen input e.g. by upwelling events can benefit from abundant food supply and build up high densities and biomass. 

As there is a high variety of adaption mechanisms, it is to assume, that successful organisms in and along OMZs are likely to use not only one mechanism, but rather combine several strategies such as for example morphological and behavioral traits. In general, the boundaries of the Benguela Upwelling System have been poorly investigated in terms of species inventory, but during preliminary investigations we could observe that certain species occur with highest biomass directly at the edges of the OMZ.

The successful candidate will help the project address the question: By which mechanisms and up to which level can abundant macrobenthic species survive fluctuations in oxygen availability and how does their activity change the benthic fluxes?