PhD in the Ecology and Chemistry of Cyanobacterial Toxins – Canada

The School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University, Canada seeks a doctoral student to study the chemistry and ecology of microcystins in freshwater lakes. Possible areas of research include: development of methods for quantifying microcystins in biological tissues, toxic effects of microcystins on aquatic biota, and analysis of regional and global microcystin data sets.
Supervisors: Dr. Xavier Ortiz and Dr. Diane Orihel.

Deadline for applications: January 5, 2018.

See details about this position here.

Like scuba diving and sponge biology ? Three PhD candidates in sponge biology / coral reef ecology at UvA

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is looking for 3 excellent PhD candidates in sponge biology / coral reef ecology to join our team.

EU ERC Starting Grant: SPONGE ENGINE — Fast and efficient sponge engines drive and modulate the food web of reef ecosystems

Coral reefs are iconic examples of biological hotspots, highly appreciated because of their ecosystem services. Yet, they are threatened by human impact and climate change, highlighting the need to develop tools and strategies to curtail changes in these ecosystems. Remarkably, ever since Darwin’s descriptions of coral reefs, it has been a mystery how one of Earth’s most productive and diverse ecosystems thrives in oligotrophic seas, as an oasis in a marine desert. Our team recently discovered the ‘sponge loop’ pathway (De Goeij et al. Science 2013) that efficiently retains and transfers energy and nutrients on the reef. We recognized sponges as potential (and so far neglected) key ecosystem drivers, and accumulated evidence on sponge loops in other ecosystems, such as deep-sea coral reefs. As a result, current reef food web models, lacking sponge-driven resource cycling, are incomplete and need to be redeveloped. However, mechanisms that determine the capacity of sponge ‘engines’, how they are fuelled, and drive communities are unknown.

The aim of this ERC project is to systematically establish the novel reef food web framework, integrating sponges as key ecosystem drivers. To this end, sponges will be evaluated on functional traits (morphology, associated microbes, pumping rate) in the processing of dissolved food, the main fuel of the engine. At the community level, we will assess to what extent these different traits are a driving force in structuring reef ecosystems, from fuel input (primary producers) to engine output (driving and modulating the consumer food web). This framework derived from a Caribbean reef ecosystem will then be implemented in a sponge-driven food web model, a much-needed foundation to test and predict future scenarios of changes in reef communities. Ultimately, we will test and generalize the novel food web framework at a tropical Indo-Pacific, a temperate Mediterranean, and a cold-water North-Atlantic reef.

See details for those positions in the Euraxess page.


Special Issue “Toxic Cyanobacteria and Toxic Dinoflagellates”in the open-access journal Microorganisms. Call for papers.

Please visit the journal website for more information and to submit your papers.

From the Microorganisms website:

The occurrence of toxic phytoplankton in freshwater and marine environments is a worldwide phenomenon that causes a number of hygienic and ecological problems. Two major phytoplankton groups of concern are toxic cyanobacteria and toxic dinoflagellates, which are the topic of this Special Issue.

The Special Issue wants to emphasize interdisciplinary contributions that combine chemical, biological, and toxicological knowledge, and bring professionals from various disciplines together. While all publishable papers must fulfill strict scientific criteria the editors encourage open-minded and innovative discussion. Some relevant topics are the following: Classical and modern taxonomical work on toxic cyanobacteria and toxic dinoflagellates, research on the genetic basis of toxicity and toxin synthesis pathways, elucidation of factors influencing toxin composition and production, toxinology, work on toxic effects on individual organisms and ecosystems, descriptions of biological and ecological functions of the toxins, work on invasive toxic species, and research on methods to combat and manage toxic phytoplankton.

Eligible research on toxic cyanobacteria is not limited to the aquatic environment but papers describing terrestrial toxic cyanobacteria are also welcome. The focus of the Special Issue is not on purely analytical papers dealing with techniques of toxin detection. However, analytical work with a clear coupling to biological phenomena is eligible.

Both original and review papers can be considered but potential review paper authors are encouraged to contact the Guest Editors in advance.

PS Please feel free to redistribute this call to your colleagues and PhD students.

Dr. Jussi Meriluoto
Dr. Anke Kremp
Guest Editors




CYANOCOST’s Annick Wilmotte in Chile

Annick Wilmotte, of the Univesity of Liege, Belgium, will give a lecture on the molecular approaches to cyanobacterial taxonomy and ecology (Aproximaciones taxonómicas y moleculares a la taxonomía y ecología de cianobacterias) in a Summer School organised by the Environmental Sciences Center (EULA) of the University of Conception, Chile. Annick has an outstanding research career especially on Antarctic cyanobacteria with great achievements and awards, including  a cyanobacterial genus named after her.

Annick will briefly present CYANOCOST to colleagues from Chile, who are welcome to join the network.