The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 38 000 students and 6 000 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.
The new Department of Marine Sciences (Marine) is a multi-disciplinary academic environment including biology, chemistry, oceanography and geology.
Our teaching and research activities stretch from circulation under the polar ice to biogeochemical fluxes in the deep sea, and from shallow seagrass beds to cold-water coral reefs. In these environments, we study different levels of biological organization from genes, individuals and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics and combinations of these fields in order to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment. The department is placed at the main campus in Gothenburg and at the two marine research laboratories at Tjärnö and Kristineberg (www.marine.gu.se).
One of the greatest current challenges in aquaculture is the ability to develop new and novel feed sources that are better able to utilize available nutrient and energy inputs. Aquaculture is growing rapidly, but its key inputs, including fishmeal from wild-caught lower trophic-level fish and feeds derived from corn and soy present a number of challenges for industry sustainability. Phytoplankton, bacteria and cyanobacteria have all been used as probiotic supplements in feed, but only more recently as a substitute for protein in feeds. Yet wild fish thrive while ingesting naturally occurring microbial communities (biofilm/periphyton, biofloc) and the use of microorganisms to boost aquaculture performance is not a new practice given that bacteria and yeasts are frequently used in commercial production as pre- and probiotic supplements and immunostimulants. However, only relatively recently have commercial operations demonstrated the utility of microbes as a direct nutrient source for a variety of farmed organisms.
Microorganisms are novel feed sources in aquaculture not only because they can be relatively inexpensive to produce, but because they also have the potential to influence one of the most basic concepts in nutrition: gut health. Probiotic research in humans has demonstrated the importance of microbial diversity in the gut, and the same applies in fish, where the immune system acquires its resilience from microbial exposure. Digestion and hence nutrition depends largely on microbial composition of the gut. Considerable research has demonstrated the utility of biofloc, an assemblage of bacteria, fungi, phytoplankton and zooplankton within an exopolymeric matrix that is part of natural fish diets because of its ubiquitous presence in the water column in dissolved, colloidal, and/or aggregate forms. It contains essential fatty acids, as well as protein and a range of other growth-promoting factors that can be beneficial for the health and nutrition of aquatic organisms. In this project, we take a novel approach to the use of microorganisms for enrichment of feed, including manipulation of microbial species and culture conditions to maximize the nutritional content of biofloc for fish in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).
The candidate will be responsiblefor cultivation in bioreactor systems of specific novel microbial assemblages that contribute to enhanced growth and well-being of live fish feed (rotifers, brine shrimp) widely used in aquaculture and ultimately the fish larvae feeding on them. Objectives for achieving project goals include: i) increased production of energy storage and other growth-enhancing compounds such as polyhydroxybutyrate in biofloc iv) heterotrophic and autotrophic microalgal enhancement of feed quality ii) characterization of nutrients and their bioavailability in biomass iii) acceptability and uptake by live invertebrate feed organisms v) and physiological effects on gut health.
The candidate will be responsible for i) running applied experiments in several different labs (Europe, Australia) thus requiring flexibility for extended stays in various locations as well as international travel to participate in meetings, working groups, conferences and visits with industry partners; ii) advising students in their scientific research, including research design and statistical analyses; iii) leading occasional outreach activities (e.g. training courses, field days, workshops events) and working with a wide range of personnel to accomplish research tasks (e.g. students, academic and extension personnel within the consortium, biotechnologists, investors and business owners).
We are seeking a candidate who is independent and self-motivated given that details of the project can be adjusted based on the candidate’s skills and interests. The candidate will be expected to take leadership within the project as they will be required to drive and conclude their work independently, to take initiative and discuss/develop their own ideas including writing well-formulated reports and articles. The candidate will be working in a multidisciplinary team of engineers, pathologists, food scientists, modellers and policy-makers involving several research groups internationally, thus good team skills, communication and the ability to travel are required.
At minimum, the candidate must possess a PhD in molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, biotechnology, bioinformatics, cell biology or related disciplines. Demonstrated experience with various analytical biochemical techniques (e.g. UV-visible and FITR spectroscopy, mass spec) and microscopy (e.g. epifluorescence, holographic digital, CLSM) are very desirable and/or knowledge of cell cultures, cell signalling, and/or polymeric chemistry is advantageous. It is not a requirement that the candidate has prior experience in aquaculture, but it would be useful to have skills such as technical operation of multiphase bioreactors and/or aquaculture or aquaria systems. Experience of several types of bioanalytical assays and working with other microorganisms (e.g. fungi, cyanobacteria, viruses) are considered merits. If the following items are not evident on the CV, please state clearly in the cover letter the following requirements:
Proof of research and scientific writing skills with at least 3 published peer-reviewed articles as first author in peer-reviewed journals (please also highlight any technical reports written). Full-text of these articles must be provided with the application.
Demonstrated statistical, including work with R or other relevant software
A start date is required prior to April 30, 2018, but the exact start date for this position is negotiable depending on the availability of a suitable candidate. The post-doctoral fellow (PDF) will be hired for a two-year period to lead this project, with the possibility for contract renewal based on performance.
The position is based at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Good communication skills in English (written and spoken) are necessary. International applicants will be eligible for Swedish residency permits if hired. The position involves frequent international travel as the work is being conducted with partners in four different international laboratories. The candidate must therefore demonstrate a willingness and ability to work for extended periods in different countries as the project will require longer collaborative periods in partner labs. The candidate will also help host visiting researchers from these foreign labs in Sweden. Candidates without any prior international work/study experience will not be considered.
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