Postdoctoral Fellow in Marine Microbial Symbioses

Stockholm University Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences

Postdoctoral Fellow in Marine Microbial Symbioses Stockholm

Ref. No. SU FV-4861-20


at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences. Closing date: 1 February 2021.

At the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University, research and education is conducted in an international environment. The subject areas are Ecology and Evolution, Ecotoxicology, Marine Biology, Plant Physiology and Plant Systematics. Some of the research has direct environmental and societal relevance and the approach is often broad and interdisciplinary. About 140 people are working at the Department, of which ca. 35 are teachers and researchers and 50 are PhD students.

Project description

The position will be associated with a five-year funded project on marine planktonic symbioses. Several lineages of marine heterocystous cyanobacteria form partnerships, or symbioses with marine eukaryotic plankton, e.g. diatoms. To date, we know far less about the host. Several open questions remain regarding the host genome content, function and adaptations for forming symbioses, and metabolite exchanges between partners.

In particular the project aims to determine genomic information for the host diatoms, and understand how certain metabolites important to both partners, e.g. iron (Fe), is aquired in the symbioses, and whether the symbiont aids in acquisition.

Main responsibilities

The position involves research in developing assays and experiments for retrieving genome information for the host diatoms (e.g. single cell transcriptomic) and identifying functionality of Fe utilization pathways in the marine cyanobacterial symbionts. And cultivation and maintanence of wild type and existing mutant strains, implementation of isotope experiments. Other experiments will involve field-based collections and/or enrichment samples for RNA-seq analyses.

Qualification requirements

Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country. 

Assessment criteria

The degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

Since this project includes uncultivated symbiotic associations of a diatom and a cyanobacteria, the selected candidate should possess expertise and knowledge in plankton physiology, environmental sampling, and applying molecular methods to eukaryotic and prokaryotic protists. In particular, expertise on single cell method development, troubleshooting, genetic reconstructions, cultivation and maintenance of cyanobacteria and/or diatom cultures, are helpful but not required. Previous experience in field expeditions (e.g. ocean-going cruises) are also a good qualification but not necessary.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills (e.g. assay development, cultivation, work with diatoms or other eukaryotic plankton, cyanobacteria and/or bacteria, experience handling large datasets), and publication history.

Terms of employment

The position involves full-time employment for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances. Start date is preferably 1 March 2021 or as per agreement and with respect for the current pandemic.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.


Further information about the position can be obtained from Dr. Rachel A. Foster, telephone: +46 8 16 12 07,

Union representatives

Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89,, and (SEKO).


Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system by clicking the "Apply" button. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application:

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents, and preferable written in English:

  • Cover letter (note this should be different than research proposal)
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Research proposal (no more than 2 pages) describing:
    - why you are interested in the field/project described in this advertisement (marine planktonic symbiosis)
    - why and how you wish to complete the project
    - what makes you suitable for the project in question
    - your future goals (1-2 sentences)
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: How to apply for a position.

You are welcome to apply!

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Closing date: 01/02/2021