The project aims to understand the impact of microplastic (MPs) pollution on the structure and functioning of the pelagic microbial food webs. It investigates how the presence of bacteria-sized MPs (about 2 μm) affects the activity, growth rates, and community composition of bacteria and bacterivorous protists. Plastic pollution is considered a major threat to biodiversity and human survival. Its potentially detrimental impact on microorganisms and microbial food webs may jeopardize the functioning of an entire ecosystem. On the other hand, the positive effect of plastic on bacterial activity was also observed. The ecosystem-level consequences of MP pollution on microbial trophic interactions remain poorly studied and understood. In presented project, we aim to verify four hypotheses concerning the effect of MPs on bacteria and bacterivorous protists: (i) MPs constitute worse quality food for bacterivorous protists than bacteria, negatively affecting their growth rates and resulting in changes in the community composition; (ii) the changes caused by the negative effect of MPs on bacterivorous protists community cascade to higher trophic levels; (iii) leakage from MPs provide a carbon source for bacteria; (iv) passage of MPs through food vacuoles of bacterivorous protists increases their quality as a carbon source for bacteria. These hypotheses will be verified in a series of whole-microbial community manipulation experiments combined with the addition of MPs of different polymer types.

Job description:

The main responsibility of the successful candidate will be to conduct bioinformatics analyses from metagenomic sequencing from the experiments. They will also participate in manipulation experiments with aquatic microorganisms collected from the Baltic Sea and will be responsible for nanopore sequencing on an in-house MinION sequencer. The responsibilities will also include participation in planning and conducting the manipulation experiments, laboratory analysis, statistical analysis, interpretation of data, writing scientific articles and presenting the results at conferences.

Employment conditions:

1. Full-time employment (40 h/week) for 3 years

2. Latest starting date: 1 July 2024;

3. Working place: Department of Fisheries Oceanography and Marine Ecology, National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kołłątaja Street 1, 81-332, Gdynia, Poland;

Requirements:

1. PhD degree conferred in 2024 or within 7 years before 1 January 2024 (i.e. in 2017 or later). This period may be extended by a time of long-term (above 90 days) documented sick leaves or rehabilitation leaves granted on account of being unfit to work. In addition, the period may be extended by the number of months of a childcare leave granted under the Labour Code and in the case of women, by 18 months for every child born or adopted, whichever manner of accounting for career breaks is preferable;

2. Documented (with publications) experience in working with cultures of microorganisms (preferably of protists);

3. Documented (with publications) experience in (meta)genome analysis (preferably of protists);

4. Experience in Oxford Nanopore sequencing will be an asset;

5. General skills: analytical thinking, independence and teamwork, organisation skills, creativity;

6. Availability to work in the field for sampling (also abroad), to intensive work during the experiments;

7. Excellent written and spoken English.

Required application documents (in English):

1. Motivation letter;

2. CV (no photo):

Education,

Scientific achievements: peer-reviewed publications, popular science articles, participation in conferences, scholarships, awards, workshops, participation in scientific projects and other research experience,

Skills required in job description and requirements,

Other achievements and activities;

3. Copy of the diploma(s) proving education;

4. Name and contact information of a referee;

5. Copies of documents proving the breaks in the scientific career after receiving the PhD degree (if applicable, see p. 1 in the Requirements).

6. Consent for processing personal data for the recruitment purpose:

„I hereby give consent for my personal data to be processed by National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, ul. Kołłątaja 1, 81-332 Gdynia, Poland, for the purpose of conducting recruitment for the position for which I am applying. (pursuant to the Personal Data Protection Act of 10 May 2018 (Journal of Laws 2018, item 1000) and in agreement with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).”

Deadlines:

Closing date for sending the applications: 29 February 2024, interviews with selected candidates will be held in March, and decisions will be sent by 15 April 2024.

How to apply:

All documents should be sent as a single PDF file to rekrutacja@mir.gdynia.pl. Subject Post-doc -SONATA-BIS.

Additional information:

dr hab. Kasia Piwosz, assoc. prof.

Contact: kpiwosz@mir.gdynia.pl

Application deadline:
Start date:
Location: National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Gdynia, Poland