The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

Master student in molecular microbial ecology (m/f/d)

Since the 1950’s the increasing production of plastics resulted in a progressive accumulation of plastic litter in the oceans with manifold consequences for marine life. Ingestion of microplastics (MP) is a cause for concern, notably for filter feeders as it leads to fatal injuries such as blockages of the digestive system but also inflammatory processes or reduction in reproduction rates. Studies investigating physiological impact of MP on bivalves ignored its potential risk under climate change as MP may constrain animals’ thermal tolerance and increase susceptibility to warming.
Since oysters and mussels are more and more recognized as holobionts (with specific associated microbiomes), it is most likely that these stressors will affect the interplay between the host and the associated microorganisms as well.

In the framework of our current research project OMAP you will analyze the bacterial communities associated with different tissues of O. edulis with respect to the applied stressors „microplastics“ and „temperature“. The bacterial community will be analyzed by 16S rRNA Gene Sequencing (Illumina) and finally evaluated by using bioinformatic and multivariate statistical software.


Further Information
The place of employment will be Helgoland.

Work time: upon consultation

Start: summer 2020

You are interested?
Please send your application with the standard documentation (CV, degree certificates, a statement of research interests, copies of certificates, publications) via e-mail (all documents merged into one PDF file) to Dr. Gunnar Gerdts (

For further information please contact Dr. Gunnar Gerdts (