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Bayi Glacier in Qilian Mountain, China (Credit: Xiaoming Wang, distributed via

Job advertisement Postdoctoral fellow: Investigate how the Antarctic ice sheet impacts Southern Ocean plankton ecosystems and productivity

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European Geosciences Union

Postdoctoral fellow: Investigate how the Antarctic ice sheet impacts Southern Ocean plankton ecosystems and productivity

Postdoctoral fellow: Investigate how the Antarctic ice sheet impacts Southern Ocean plankton ecosystems and productivity

iC3 Polar Research Centre logo

iC3 Polar Research Centre

The Centre for ice, Cryosphere, Carbon and Climate (iC3) produces ground-breaking insights into how the links between ice sheets, carbon cycles and ocean ecosystems are impacting life on earth.

iC3 is based at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the top university worldwide in terms of Arctic research output, and is partnered with the Norwegian Polar Institute and NORCE. Our team has access to world-class facilities including Arctic and Antarctic research stations, ice-going research vessels and in-house laboratory and modelling capacity.

We offer a friendly and supportive working environment to postdoctoral researchers who are passionate about polar science, have a strong work ethic, and share our commitment to teamwork and scientific excellence. Training and supporting the next generation of interdisciplinary polar scientists is a core part of our mission. iC3 has a dedicated mentorship and graduate training program. We actively help postdoctoral fellows to gain new skills, secure grant funding, get their research published, and build their professional networks.


Tromso, Norway


Relevant divisions
Biogeosciences (BG)
Cryospheric Sciences (CR)
Ocean Sciences (OS)

Full time

Entry level

Competitive salary

Required education

Application deadline
5 June 2024

18 May 2024

Job description

We are looking for a new colleague to join the friendly iC3 team in Tromsø, the capital of Arctic Norway, for a three-year fixed term postdoctoral position. The project will focus on the impact of nutrient inputs from Antarctica’s ice sheets on diatom populations in the Southern Ocean.

The applicant for this postdoctoral fellowship must have comprehensive experience in running and analysing numerical models, sufficient knowledge of programming languages like Fortran, Python, Matlab or equivalent, a strong publication track record including first author contributions, and documented fluency in English. Research experience in polar oceans, ocean biogeochemistry and/or ecology as well as experience in model development are desirable but not essential.

This postdoctoral position is open to qualified applicants of all nationalities. Applicants must have submitted their PhD thesis before the application deadline.

The Southern Ocean is an essential component of Earth´s carbon cycle, absorbing around 40% of the world ocean´s anthropogenic CO2 uptake. Atmospheric and ocean warming is enhancing meltwater discharge from some Antarctic Ice Sheet sectors and causing sea ice decline. These cryospheric changes are likely to amplify over the coming century, with the potential to influence important Southern Ocean marine ecosystems by altering nutrient and light availability.

One of the main CO2 sinks of the Southern Ocean is the biological carbon pump, which is dominated by the activity of diatoms. Diatoms are large phytoplankton that produce silica shells and form extensive blooms, contributing to large carbon and silicon exports. Diatom production is limited by both iron and silicic acid in the Southern Ocean, which affect their potential to take up and export carbon to the deep ocean via complex coupling between biogeochemical cycles of carbon, silicon, and iron.

Current estimates of the ice-sheet impact on Southern Ocean primary production vary widely. However, most of these models have a limited representation of the marine ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, in particular omitting the effect of iron availability on diatoms growth, life cycle and silicon-to-carbon elemental ratio. It is critical to improve understanding of the response of diatoms to changing cryospheric iron and silicon sources in Antarctica in order to predict the sensitivity of the Southern Ocean carbon cycle to past and future ice sheet change.

The fellow will employ the state-of-the-art ocean model NEMO coupled with the ocean biogeochemical model PISCES to study the effect of variable ice sheet and sea ice iron and silicon inputs on the marine plankton ecosystem, primary and export production in the Southern Ocean. The project will focus primarily on the impact of ice sheet-sourced nutrient inputs (e.g. subglacial meltwater, ice shelf melt and iceberg discharge) on diatom populations and how they influence their silicon-to-carbon ratio in relation to iron supply. Depending on the interests of the candidate, other aspects of Southern Ocean coupling with ice sheet meltwaters and associated nutrients or ecological trait modelling may be investigated.

The postdoctoral fellow will be affiliated with Research Unit 5 within iC3, which aims to assess how the retreat of polar ice sheets will affect Earth’s future climate and marine ecosystems. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to be involved in all aspects of the research, including study design, planning, conducting research, data analyses, and publishing results.

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