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Post Doc in Coral genomics and conservation genetics (m/f/d)

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Closing date
17 Aug 2024

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Earth Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

Job Details

Area of research:

Scientific / postdoctoral posts

Job description:Post Doc in Coral genomics and conservation genetics (m/f/d)

High human population densities on the world’s tropical shores andchanging environmental conditions such as a warming global climate have had significantand detrimental impacts on coral reefs. Time is running out, and it is in ourbest interest to understand and protect these highly diverse ecosystems thatprovide important services to local and national economies. In fact, coralreefs are often considered the “medicine cabinet” of the 21st century andpromising natural compounds with a range of medicinal properties have beendiscovered in reef invertebrates and microbes.

In the Marine Conservation group at the HIFMB in Oldenburg ( use molecular techniques to answer fundamental questions about marineevolution and ecology to guide coral reef conservation efforts. The groupcurrently has two focus areas: coral physiology and symbiosis, and coralrestoration genomics.

Research at the HIFMB focuses on marine biodiversity and its importance for thefunctioning of marine ecosystems. We aim to develop sensitive strategies tomeasure and understand environmental and social processes that influence, orare influenced by, the change in biodiversity in marine systems, and to implementeffective means to define a scientific basis for marine conservation, marinegovernance, and ecosystem management efforts. HIFMB is a highlyinterdisciplinary research environment that currently brings together expertsfrom 18 countries who focus on contemporary yet distinct topics of research.Our growing research portfolio to understand marine systems at the HIFMB spansfrom molecular ecology to human geography, microbial metabolism to mathematicalmodeling and art. As a cooperation between the University of Oldenburg (UOL)and the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- undMeeresforschung (AWI), the HIFMB benefits from its access to a diverse set ofresources for cutting-edge research. The new building of the HIFMB, which isscheduled to start its service at the beginning of 2024, offersstate-of-the-art wet-lab and computational resources. The HIFMB is located inOldenburg, a city in Northern Germany, which is a region that is home to a largenumber of institutions dedicated to environmental and marine research. Inaddition to the AWI and the ICBM, the institutions with which the HIFMBresearchers regularly interact include the Max-Planck Institute for MarineMicrobiology in Bremen, the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) atthe University Bremen, and Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research inBremen.

You will take a leading role in current projects including the search for aglobal signature of heat resilience in reef-building corals, the role ofsomatic mutations in coral evolution and artificial selection of heat-resilientcorals. Projects are highly collaborative across several national andinternational research groups.

  • extract and sequence coral DNA and RNA
  • use bioinformatic tools to analyze coral DNA, RNA and protein data
  • assemble and annotate eukaryotic genomes
  • use population genomic approaches to estimate population structure, history and introgression
  • use quantitative genetic approaches to estimate responses to selection
  • model alternative conservation genetic strategies such as assisted gene flow and selective breeding
  • establish and maintain bioinformatic analysis pipelines
  • disseminate results in peer reviewed publications, presentations and data repositories
  • contribute to grant writing
  • collaborate and coordinate with an international and interdisciplinary research teams
  • supervise students.

  • Ph.D. in marine biology, bioinformatics, genetics, molecular ecology or related field; proficiency in at least one coding language (Python), and proficiency in R.
  • Disposition to work in laboratory and field conditions is important.
  • You must have the ability to plan, execute, interpret, document, and troubleshoot independent research and to collaborate effectively with other computational and experimental members of a diverse research team.
  • You will mentor junior members of the lab, contribute to the writing of manuscripts and grant reports, and communicate their science to peers and the public through presentations, writing, and digital formats.
  • Excellent organization, verbal and written English communication skills are required.
  • Professional development through the acquisition of new skills will be expected.
  • You will be an expert in generating and analyzing genomic data of reef-building corals such as genome assembly and annotation, population genomics, quantitative genetic, epigenetic and gene expression data.

Further Information
The AWI is characterized by

The AWI is characterized by
  • our scientific success - excellent research
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary
  • opportunities to develop – on the job and towards other positions
  • an international environment – everyday contact with people from all over the world
  • flexible working hours and the possibility of mobile working up to 50% of regular working hours
  • health promotion and company fitness
  • support services and a culture of reconciling work and family
  • occupational pension provision (VBL)

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of employees who are women, and therefore, strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

Applicants with disabilities will be given preference when equal qualifications are present.

The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

This research center is part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. With more than 42,000 employees and an annual budget of over € 5 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation.


The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges to assure the future of our society. With more than 39,000 people on staff in 18 national research centres, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organization. The name Helmholtz stands for concerted research in which networks form the key principle behind inquiring thought and action. Concerted research is efficient and flexible.

The profile of the Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association performs cutting-edge research which contributes substantially to solving the grand challenges of science, society and industry. To succeed in meeting these responsibilities, Helmholtz concentrates its work in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, as well as Aeronautics, Space and Transport. Within each of these fields, research programs are developed by our scientists and regularly evaluated by renowned international experts. Their evaluation forms the basis for the programme-oriented funding that is allocated to Helmholtz research. Within the six research fields, Helmholtz scientists cooperate with each other and with external partners – working across disciplinary, organizational and national borders.

Promoting young academics

Helmholtz scientists, a high-performance infrastructure and modern and efficient research management are the ingredients to the Helmholtz Association‘s success and global impact.
Promoting young researchers is a major priority for the Helmholtz Association. Its qualification schemes for young researchers are geared mainly towards PhD students, postdocs and young managers. The Helmholtz Association has set high standards for its talent management. Its strategy begins with targeted recruitment of highly qualified staff at all levels, followed by comprehensive support aimed at further developing their potential. Ensuring equal opportunities is an essential element in all talent management activities undertaken by the Helmholtz Association.

The Helmholtz Graduate Schools and Research Schools at almost all Helmholtz Centres provide doctoral students with the general and specific skills and training they need, as well as ample opportunity to network with other working groups. The period following a doctorate is decisive in determining the direction and success of a scientific career. For this reason, we are about to establish Career Centers for postdoctoral researchers in the Helmholtz centres and a mentoring programme for especially gifted PostDocs in order to foster career orientation. This equips young researchers with the skills they need to go on to head a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group, for example. As a Young Investigator Group leader, junior scientists can independently set up their own group to conduct research in their specialist field.

Within its talent management strategy, the Helmholtz Association pays special attention to the increased recruitment of talented female scientists both from Germany and abroad. To this end, there are currently two funding programs supporting this policy Funding of first-time appointments of excellent women scientists (W2/W3)’ and ‘Funding to recruit top-level international women scientists (W3)’.

The increasing complexity of the content, structures and framework conditions of scientific work today requires researchers to organise their projects, their employees and, of course, themselves in a highly professional and effective way. In response to these demands, we have set up the Helmholtz Management Academy to provide junior leaders in science with professional management training. Furthermore, the Helmholtz network provides a platform for the alumni of the Helmholtz Management Academy and Mentoring programme to come together and share their experiences of leadership, career development and lifelong learning.

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