University of Bergen

Department of Biological Sciences

The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.

2 PhD positions on marine evolutionary ecology and sustainable harvesting in the Anthropocene

At the Department of Biological Sciences ( there are two vacant PhD positions on evolutionary ecology and sustainable harvesting of marine fish in the Anthropocene. The positions are for a fixed-term period of 3 years.


The global population is growing and land-based food production is not keeping up. This has turned focus towards the oceans, and how they can contribute towards increased food production. To face these current and future challenges, we need to develop sustainable practices, and to achieve this we need to build more accurate tools and develop a deeper understanding of how marine fish respond, adapt and change under anthropogenic stressors, including fisheries itself as well as climate change. These two PhD-positions will contribute towards increasing our understanding of the challenges and finding potential solutions for the sustainable management of marine fish today and in the future. These positions will tackle two primary challenges:

1) Scaling life-history strategies from individual-level ecological processes and Darwinian selection to evolutionary outcomes and emergent population-level dynamics, allowing for scrutinizing the eco-evolutionary consequences of multiple simultaneous anthropogenic stressors.

2) Analyzing how natural and directional selection on key life-history parameters, particularly natural mortality, adds variability and creates uncertainty and bias in stock assessments, and develop methodologies to handle this in current and future management settings.


About the PhD projects

The first PhD position will concentrate on the eco-evolutionary consequences of multiple anthropogenic stressors, in particular fishing and climate change. The aim is to determine how marine exploited fish respond to concurrent anthropogenic stressors of fishing and climate change when evolutionary adaptations of physiological, behavioural and life-history traits are explicitly accounted for. Will fish in high latitude ecosystems, such as Atlantic cod, be able to adapt and cope with the anticipated local rates of climate change in connection with human harvesting? These questions are probably best addressed using a mechanistic modelling approach that can incorporate evolutionary processes. We have at hand several modelling frameworks that may be utilized, including evolutionary optimization models for life history and behaviour (e.g., Holt & Jørgensen 2014: Conservation Physiology 2: cou050), and eco-evolutionary individual-based life-history models (e.g., Enberg et al. 2009: Evolutionary Applications 2: 394-414). Depending on the skills and interests of the candidate, the project can be based on applying one of these modelling frameworks. Associate professor Katja Enberg ( will be the main supervisor and Anders F. Opdal ( will be the co-supervisor for this position.


The aim of the second PhD position is to analyse how uncertainty and directional change in natural mortality together with variability in life-history parameters influences our ability to provide accurate estimates of both current and future fish populations. Will changes in these parameters lead to under- or overestimation, and how do we develop tools to incorporate such uncertainty in future stock assessments? An important challenge will be to estimate the degree of bias in current stock assessments, reference point estimations and catch advice caused by ignoring variability and directional change in key life-history parameters, and to device assessment and management strategies minimising such unwanted effects. Of particular interest is natural mortality, which is both a key determinant of evolutionary and population dynamics and a key parameter in stock assessment models. The candidate will have the possibility to employ a suite of existing modelling approaches, including simulation models for creating data, existing stock assessment models for running assessments with different input data, and standard tools for estimating biological and management reference points used at the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The focal case studies will be the commercially important pelagic stocks Norwegian spring-spawning herring, Northeast Atlantic mackerel, and Blue whiting. Associate professor Katja Enberg will be the main supervisor for this position, while co-supervisors will be Dr. Sondre Aanes from the Norwegian Computing Centre, Dr. David Miller from the ICES secretariat and Dr. Erling Kåre Stenevik from the Institute of Marine Research.


Qualifications and personal qualities

A successful candidate

  • must hold a master’s degree or the equivalent in biology or another relevant discipline for the project, or must have submitted his/her master’s thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master’s degree has been awarded
  • should demonstrate broad knowledge and good intuition about evolutionary ecology and marine ecology
  • should have an interest in working with questions at the interface of basic and applied research
  • should be willing to challenge current thinking
  • will benefit from skills and interest in mathematics and programming
  • should enjoy working in a collaborative environment
  • should have the ability to work independently
  • should have a good proficiency in oral and written English

Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.


The successful candidates for the two projects will be collaborating with each other.


About the PhD position

The fellowships will be for a period of 3 years, with the possibility of up to one extra year of compulsory work (e.g. teaching responsibilities at the department) distributed across the employment period. A contract longer than 3 years is contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department, and will be decided upon appointment.


The employment period may be reduced if the candidate has previously been employed in a recruitment position.


About the research training

As a PhD candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen (


We can offer:

  • A positive, dynamic, trustful and constructively critical environment for everyday interactions.
  • Salary at pay grade 51 upon appointment (code 1017/pay range 20, alternative 9) in the state salary scale. This constitutes a gross annual salary of NOK 449 400. Further promotions are made according to length of service in the position.
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)
  • Good welfare benefits

Your application must include:

  • A brief account (max 2 pages) of the applicant’s research interests and motivation for applying for the position. Please indicate whether you are interested in only one of the positions or both.
  • The names and contact information for two referees. One of these should be the main advisor for the master’s thesis or equivalent thesis. Please do not submit letters of reference at this point.
  • CV
  • Relevant certificates/references
  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees. If lacking a master’s diploma, the applicant must present an official confirmation that the master’s thesis has been submitted.
  • A list of any works of a scientific nature (publication list).
  • Any publications in your name, including the master’s thesis.

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.


General information

For further information about the positions and projects please contact Katja Enberg ( / telephone +47 41 00 63 68).


The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among employees is therefore a goal. It is also a goal to recruit people with immigrant backgrounds. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.


The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.


Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.


Further information about the employment process can be found here


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About this job

  • Deadline
    Wednesday, January 30, 2019
  • Employer
    University of Bergen
  • Website
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  • Jobbnorge ID
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  • Scope
  • Duration
    Fixed Term

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  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Academic CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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