PhD Scholarship within Phosphorus Turnover in Lakes and Wetlands

University of Southern Denmark (SDU)

Odense, Denmark 🇩🇰

A PhD position is available at the Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. The start date is 1 August 2023. Application deadline: 18 April 2023.

Project background
Freshwater lakes throughout the world are in poor condition, mainly due to decades of heavy nutrient pollution. The main cause of poor water quality is excess phosphorous (P), an essential nutrient for all living organisms, and it causes excessive phytoplankton growth, leading to poor water quality and loss of biodiversity in our lakes. In many lakes, artificial oxygenation is used to increase the sediment’s P binding capacity, but knowledge on the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of such measures is often limited. In other lakes, a skewed fish balance or wind-driven re-suspension of sediments might keep lakes in a turbid state.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, self-driven and ambitious candidate with an MSc degree in biology. The candidate will be in charge of a two-year monitoring campaign in the deepest Danish Lake Fure and Lake Bagsværd. The two overall aims are to 1) understand how oxygenation of the deepest areas of Lake Fure affects the P release from the sediment, with the overall aim to evaluate the future management of this lake with respect to oxygenation, 2) study the mechanism behind the poor water quality in Lake Bagsværd, with a focus on whether P is being released from the sediment through passive diffusion, wind or fish mediated re-suspension. This will be conducted by detailed sediment core sampling to “ground truth” sonar data in addition to high-resolution water chemistry measurements. The candidate will be responsible for field trips, monitoring of seasonal changes in nutrients in the sediment and water column by various methods (e.g. modified sequential extraction protocols, diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT’s)).

The PhD scholarship covers the area of aquatic ecology, bio-geochemistry, and chemistry and will be aligned with ongoing research at the Freshwater Ecology group at the Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark. The candidate will be part of a group working with P and carbon turnover and greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands, streams, and lakes, which will ensure a fruitful research environment.

Experience with freshwater ecology and good English language skills will be required. The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, i.e. publications will be a strong asset. A driver’s license is needed so please include documentation in the application.

The PhD candidate will be appointed to the Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, with the main supervisor Theis Kragh (University of Southern Denmark), and co-supervisors Kasper Reitzel, Sara Egemose, and Kaj Sand Jensen.

For questions or other inquiries, please contact Theis Kragh at

Application, salary etc.
Appointment as a PhD Research Fellow is for three years. Employment stops automatically at the end of the period. The holder of the scholarship is not allowed to have other paid employment during the three-year period.

The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement on salaried PhD scholars between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Please check links for more information on salary and taxation.

The successful candidate will be enrolled at this university in accordance with faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order).

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Application must be in English and made in the form of a Declaration of Interest including the following:
• A research proposal/description of your approach to the above project (max one page excluding references)
• A letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. two pages) (please attach this under box “Application form”)
• Detailed CV, including personal contact information
• Copies of diplomas, Bachelor as well as Master’s degree, including transcript of notes/grades
• At least two signed reference letters. Should your referees wish to send their letters directly to us, please have them use e-mail: mentioning your name and the title of the position in the subject line. And please note that these also need to reach us before deadline.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

Further information about the PhD-study can be found at the homepage of the University.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link “Apply online”. Attached files must be in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb. We strongly recommend that you read How to apply before you apply.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. This also applies to reference letters.

Further information for international applicants about entering and working in Denmark.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development