PhD Position, Salmon Behavior as Response to Environmental Factors in Commercial Sea Cages

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 23 Feb 2020

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 About the position

We have a vacancy for a Phd position within the area of salmon behavior as response to environmental factors in commercial sea cages.

NTNU seeks a highly qualified, ambitious and motivated candidate to investigate how salmonids respond to and interact with the environment they experience in commercial sea-based aquaculture production. This vacancy is for a position at Department of Biological Sciences in Ålesund at Faculty of Natural Sciences. The appointment has a duration of three years with the possibility of until one year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. For teaching duties, it is required that the candidate speaks Norwegian or another Scandinavian language. The PhD will be registered at Faculty of Natural Sciences. This position will lead to a doctoral degree (PhD). The workplace is at NTNU in Ålesund. The candidate will also participate in and collaborate with research teams on salmon behavior and welfare and on aquaculture-environment interactions, and the candidate will be connected to other PhD candidates at the department.

The Department of Biological Sciences Ålesund (IBA) is closely linked to the regional industry, both in the health and the marine sector. The department focuses on interdisciplinary research and research-based innovation related to sustainable salmon farming, the marine environment, marine ingredients and medical and laboratory technology. The department holds a full-scale farming license for salmonids located at several farming sites in Møre og Romsdal. Further information is available at the department’s homepage: .

The position reports to Head of department.

Main duties and responsibilities

The PhD candidate will investigate fish behavior in commercial sea-based salmonid production and link behavioral changes to variations of environmental factors.

Farmed fish in open sea cages experience environmental changes over time, which they react to in different ways. To date, we lack comprehensive information about the distribution of salmonids inside sea cages, their normal behavior and behavioral deviations due to changes in the farm environment in intensive sea-based production.

The PhD candidate will develop or adapt methods in video analysis to describe and monitor fish distribution and behavior in commercial sea cages. Analysis of underwater videos can give insight into important behavioral traits, such as spatial distribution of individuals, swimming speed and direction, burst swimming events, aggression, surfacing/jumping, and more. Measurements using acoustic methods, like echosounder or sonar may give additional information on the distribution and movement of fish over time. 

Behavior is a reaction to the environment as it is perceived by the fish, and therefore it is important to collect proper information about environmental conditions when investigating behavioral changes. The PhD candidate will have access to environmental and production data for a commercial salmon farm, and it will be possible to include additional physical, chemical and/or biological sampling.

The PhD candidate will ultimately analyze fish behavior in light of environmental changes and fish farm operations.

This PhD project will involve field work to install sensors and cameras and to acquire suitable information for the analysis of salmon-environment interactions.

Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at:

Qualification requirements

PhD candidate:

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in natural science /engineering science, preferably within the major fields of marine biology, aquaculture, ecology, environmental sciences or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale . Applicants may be considered with other background like hydrodynamics, statistics or maritime studies, if the candidate’s competence can be transferred to work at the interface with aquaculture as described or this vacancy. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

Other qualifications

  • knowledge and interest in applied research
  • keen interest in aquaculture and interactions between fish and their environment
  • strong ability to work problem oriented
  • good analytical skills
  • documented experience within field work, aquaculture animal behavior, statistics and/or environmental data handling will be an advantage
  • Good written and oral English language skills

Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language should provide evidence of good written and oral English language skills. The following tests can be used as documentation: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Personal characteristics

  • self-motivated, enthusiastic and creative
  • strong collaborative skills
  • ability to work independent and goal-oriented
  • interest in multidisciplinary problem solving
  • ability and willingness to conduct field-work at sea

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is three years with the possibility of until one year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Biology .

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criterias in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Associate professor Lars Gansel, phone number +47 70 16 15 12 / Mobile: +47 46 45 62 81 , e-mail [email protected]  

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI): ).

Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number NV-5/20 when applying.

Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Application deadline: 23.02.20

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Biological Sciences Ålesund 

We work with health and sustainable exploitation of marine resources, as well as medical and marine laboratory technology. The Department has close ties with regional business and industry in the health and marine sectors. This applies to research, education and innovation. The Department of Biological Sciences Ålesund  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences .

Deadline 23rd February 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Ålesund
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Ålesund

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