Postdoctoral position in ecological modelling

Trondheim Nivå 1 Apply before: 2024-09-01

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) in Trondheim seeks a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to join the HitLice project for 3 years. The main objective of this interdisciplinary project, funded by the Research Council of Norway, is to provide an accurate estimate of the relationship between salmon lice and the marine survival of Atlantic salmon post-smolts in Norway. The postdoctoral researcher will be a member of a strong project group with collaborators from NINA, the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, NORCE, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Nordland Research Institute, as well as international experts from the University of Prince Edward Island, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Stirling.

Project overview
Wild Atlantic salmon is declining throughout its range and is believed to be at a historic low. In Norway, this coincides with a tremendous increase in farmed salmon production. The main impact of fish farming on wild salmon is via the proliferation and spillover of parasitic salmon lice. Although there is no doubt that salmon lice infestations harm salmon, salmonid tolerance limits towards lice remains a critically unresolved question. Consequently, the main objective of the HitLice project is to improve existing models by providing an accurate estimate of the relationship between salmon lice and the marine survival of salmon smolts. To this end, examining lice threshold levels by field and lab experiments with artificial infestation of wild fish will be performed. To test direct and indirect effect of lice under variable environmental conditions, results will be compared with time series from tagged wild salmon, and, in addition, from rivers with estimated smolt migration and return rates. 

The postdoctoral researcher will contribute to the work package that combine observed return rates of wild Atlantic salmon populations with hydrodynamic and statistical modelling of lice infestation pressure to confirm lab and field estimates of lice induced mortality. The insights gained from the HitLice project will provide practical insight into salmon population management, underpin the Traffic Light System that regulates the salmon aquaculture sector, and contribute to the blue sectors, academia, policy makers and municipal authorities involved in Blue Growth and coastal zone management.

About NINA
NINA is an independent foundation that researches nature and the interaction between nature and society. NINA was established in 1988 and has more than 350 employees today. The head office is situated in Trondheim, with branch offices in Tromsø, Lillehammer, Bergen, and Oslo. NINA offers a dynamic and stimulating environment for research, including a team of about 50 researchers and technicians dedicated to salmonid research. As one of the world’s largest salmonid research groups, NINA is home to experts in salmon ecology, genetics, and evolution. This collaborative atmosphere provides an ideal setting for engaging in a multi-disciplinary research project, making it an exciting opportunity for postdoctoral researchers. This project also involves national and international collaborators across Europe and possibilities of research visits. For further information about NINA, visit

The postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for:
• Collating data on salmon smolt production and migration, returning spawners and ecological factors relevant for marine survival.
• Analyses of wild salmon population return rates to quantify the direct and indirect effects of salmon lice on marine survival.
• Publishing research findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Applicants should preferentially have:
• A PhD in Ecology, Parasitology, Statistics, or a related field.
• Strong quantitative skills and proficiency in programming languages such as R.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively.
• Multidisciplinary interests (e.g. various fields of biology, statistics, oceanography, and social sciences) and be a team player.
Proficiency in spoken and written English will be necessary to complete the scientific tasks in the project. NINA's everyday language is Norwegian, and language training in Norwegian is provided.

NINA offers:
• A workplace in one of Europe's foremost environmental institutes.
• Salary by qualifications.
• Flexi-time scheme.
• Good pension scheme and group life insurance.
• Good opportunities for professional development.
• A work and career development plan will be tailored for the candidate to ensure future employment prospects.
• A pleasant working environment in modern premises of high standard.
The successful candidate will receive a competitive salary commensurate with experience, access to state-of-the-art research facilities, professional development, and networking opportunities. The candidate will also have the chance to collaborate with leading experts in the field and contribute to high-impact research.

The application must contain:
• A cover letter outlining the candidate’s professional experience and interests relevant to the position's scope.
• A curriculum vitae with information on education, professional experience, publications, and presentations.
• Up to five examples of research products that illustrate the applicant’s qualifications. Products can include published articles, technical reports or unpublished manuscripts. All materials will be treated in confidence.
• Contact information for up to three referees who can speak in support of the candidate's qualifications. Candidates will be notified before their referees are contacted.

Selected qualified candidates will be called in for an interview. 

For NINA, a good working environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or if you have been out of work for some time. If necessary, the workplace will be adapted for people with disabilities. 

The preferred commencement date is January 1, 2025. 

Questions about the position can be directed to Senior Researcher Ola Diserud, phone +47 932 18 823 or Research Director Anne Kristin Jøranlid, phone +47 975 42 352. 

Closing date: September 1, 2024

Ola Diserud, Senior Researcher
+47 932 18 823

Anne Kristin Jøranlid, Research director
+47 975 42 352