Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Ecoscience programme. The position is available from 1 October 2023 or later. Title: Cultivation and harvest of Ulva species for emission capture and utilisation

Research area and project description: The green seaweed Ulva comprises a range of opportunistic species with similar morphology, function and biochemical composition. Common to all is the preference for high availability of nutrients and CO2, making Ulva species superior for biological emission capture and utilization, and for marketing as a stable quality biomass for food and nutraceuticals, where product homogeneity and stability is crucial.

Cultivation and harvest of Ulva species in marine and land-based recirculated aquaculture systems is attracting focus as a means to increase circular nutrient and carbon management, and to increase the overall sustainability footprint of food production.

To establish a profitable industry, further research on the capacity for growth and nutrient uptake is needed for selecting and optimizing production of Ulva strains in both land-based and marine systems.

This phd will address existing knowledge gaps in optimisation of the efficiency of green opportunistic species, Ulva sp. to take up emissions of nutrients and CO2 in land-based and marine cultivation systems, providing the ecosystem services of NPC recycling and provisioning of biomass for food and feed.

Three tasks will focus on optimising 1) land-based production, 3) marine cultivation and harvest, and 3) summarising perspectives for ecosystem services.


The project is structured into three Tasks, with the expected outcome of five manuscripts. T1 Land-based systems: Three native fast growing ‘green tide’ Ulva species/strains will be identified for growth at 2-3 combinations of temperature and salinity reflecting RAS conditions at salmon and shrimp production (PCR species identification in collaboration with Ghent University). Growth and nutrient extraction efficiency will guide selection of the optimal species for each relevant RAS condition (Manuscript (M) #1).

Optimising yield and quality of the selected Ulva species in RAS settings in lab scale for optimal emission inputs rates, emission extraction efficiency and biomass yield and quality via optimization of light, nutrient flow, dilution of process water and stocking density (M#2). The seaweed-proof of-concept systems is scaled up to a factor 20 volume capacity (M#3)

T2 Marine systems: Ulva species will be cultivated on lines in marine systems ranging from high saline to low saline areas prone to natural seasonal fluctuations in temperature and light. The ecotypes identified in T1 will be tested for coastal cultivation in non-constant environments in locations from Kriegers Flak to Limfjorden. Productivity, emission capture efficiency and food safety will be documented (M#4).

T3 Ecosystem services: Potentials for exploiting Ulva emission capture and utilisation / ecosystem services in a Danish context for mitigating eutrophication and providing a non-landbased food and feed resource will be summarized (M#5).

For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. Please simply copy the project description above and upload it as a PDF in the application.

Qualifications and specific competences:

  • Applicant must have a master’s degree in Marine Biology
  • Applicant must have experience in cultivation of seaweeds
  • Applicant must be able to work independent and to collaborate in teams
  • Applicant must be prepared for a mobility stay abroad
  • Applicant should have experience in R
  • Positive if applicant has experience in scientific writing
  • Positive if applicant has published in peer-reviewed journals

Place of employment and place of work: The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Ecoscience, Aarhus university, CF Møllers Allé 3, 8000 Aarhus C Denmark


Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply: Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 1 August 2023 at 23:59 CEST. Preferred starting date is 1 October 2023.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.  

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