PhD in Aquatic Biosciences

Doctoral degree in Bodø and Steinkjer

Aquatic Biosciences at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture is the study of the structure, function and behaviour of living organisms in aquatic ecosystems, predominantly related to the marine sector.

Programme description

Aquatic Biosciences at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture is the study of the structure, function and behaviour of living organisms in aquatic ecosystems, predominantly related to the marine sector.

About the study programme

The study programme integrates the three areas of specialisation - Aquaculture, Ecology, and Genomics - which correspond to three of the strategic research areas at the faculty. 

As a doctoral candidate at our faculty you are affiliated with one of the strategic research groups. Individual PhD projects may even be cross-disciplinary in nature and could encompass both farmed and wild aquatic organisms, as well as the environment they thrive in. Investigations embracing the different aquatic biospheres may either delve into the molecular mechanisms or stay at the ecosystem scale. While the overarching theme of the PhD in Aquatic Biosciences is aquatic resource utilization and management.

The doctoral education consists of three years of full-time studies. It includes an educational training component (coursework) comprising 30 ECTS, and a research component, comprising 150 ECTS.

Courses included in the training component are natural-science related courses, which provide depth to the candidate's research theme.

The obligatory courses of the PhD Programme are: Ecological and Interspecies Ethics (5 credits) and one PhD level course (5 credits) in a subject area directly related to the thesis.The PhD student should obtain 20 credits from elective courses. A minimum of 10 credits must be secured from PhD level courses. 

The PhD level elective courses currently offered at the faculty can be found in the "PhD courses" section below. The students are encouraged to select these courses, provided they are relevant for their research theme. 

Internationally approved PhD courses c​onducted at other universities in Norway or abroad can be included in this component, if necessary.

The research component includes preparation of a PhD thesis based on an original piece of high quality research in at least one of the research areas of the f​aculty.

The resulting thesis is normally in the form of a series of published/publishable papers. An external committee will evaluate the thesis.

In addition, the candidate is also required to actively participate in national and international research environments and carry out result dissemination based on his/her project theme. 
The aim of the discipline as defined by the PhD Programme in Aquatic Biosciences is aquatic resource stewardship. Aquatic resou​rces have to be sustainably managed in the face of anthropogenic environmental changes. 

There are close reciprocal effects between aquaculture activities, harvesting of natural populations, and the environment, which include geochemical cycling, pollution, and recruitment fluctuations

Responsibly practised aquaculture and balanced harvesting of natural resources will ensure that mankind has access to safe high-value aquatic food.​​​​​​

Strategic Research Divisions

Admission requirements

The Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture (FBA) welcomes applicants who have successfully completed their master's degree (120 ECTS) in Aquaculture or Marine Ecology or other related fields within biology, with a minimum average grade C (or its international accepted equivalence) or better. Potential candidates with master´s degree in other areas may be considered depending on the nature of the proposed research project.

In order to be admitted to the PhD programme applicants must source financing for the entire period of the doctoral studies (3 years). Possible funding sources are PhD fellowships funded by FBA or other external sources. Self-financed applicants are normally not accepted (documented funding from governmental or non-governmental bodies is required). Available PhD scholarships funded by FBA will be publicly available on the website:

Please review the Regulations for the doctor of philosophy degree at Nord University, including the Supplementary regulations for the PhD in Aquatic Biosciences for more detailed information on admission requirements for the PhD programme.

Complete applications will be forwarded to the Faculty Research Board and Dean, which take the decision on admission.

Job opportunities

The PhD in Aquatic Biosciences will first and foremost qualify the students for positions within higher education institutions and for research and development work at research institutes. They would also have opportunities within the aquaculture or marine life science-related industries in Norway and abroad. Non-Governmental agencies interested in marine environmental issues will also be an attractive employer.

Study abroad

Based on the nature of the research project, there will be research visits/stay at national or international institutions.

Current PhD fellows

Aquaculture Division

​PhD fellow
​Working title
​Solveig Lysfjord Sørensen, Norge
​Microalgae as novel ingredients in fish feed for Atlantic salmon
​​Youngjin Park, Sør-Korea
​​The influence of dietary components on the intestinal microbiota of Atlantic salmon
​​Saima Rehman, India
​​Elucidating the effects of microbe-derived glucans on the gut microbiota and the immune system of zebrafish
​​Linn Hjelmeland Sveindheim, Norge
​​Disposal of mine tailings in Norwegian fjords and impact on key ecosystem species
​​John Björn Sällebrant, Sverige
​​Industrial smolt production and its impact on animal welfare
​​Adnan Hussain Gora, India
​​Molecular nutritional studies employing zebrafish to assess the potential of microalgae
​John Birger Ulvund, Norge
​​Optimized use of Cyclopterus lumpus in the fight against Lepeophtheirus salmonisin salmon farming – A acoustic telemetry approach to further the knowledge of fish biology, welfare and effective measurements of cleaner fish and Atlantic salmon
​Isabel Sofia Abihssira Garcia, Spania
​​Potential impact of microplastics on the environmental footprint of Atlantic salmon farming
​​Hirono Suzuki, Japan
​​Lipid metabolism in Koliella antarctica during phosphorus starvation
​Helge Bostwick Bjerck, Norge
​​Genetic and epigenetic basis for behavioural ecotypes and morphological phenotypes in Atlantic salmon (S. salar)
​​Fredrik Ribsskog Staven, Norge
​​Habituation and learning in lumpsuckers during interaction with Atlantic salmon, with focus on behaviour and physiology
​Peter Schulze, Tyskland
Production of microalgae for biotechnological applications
​Florence Perera, Sri Lanka
​​​Feed and nutrition of the spotted wolffish (Anarhichas minor) and lumpsucker (Cyclopterus lumpus)

Ecology Division

​PhD fellow
​Working title
​​Michael We​inert, Tyskland
​Modelling the distribution of North Sea benthic species in response to climate change
​​Maja Karoline Viddal Hatlebakk, Norge 
​​Calanus glacialis and Calanus finmarchicus in a changing Arctic: Impact and acclimation
​​William Hatchett, England
​​Reinforcement and phylogeny in Fucus species
​​Mathieu Tachon, Frankrike
​​Modelling hydrodynamic and biochemical regimes in sub-Arctic fjords: oxygen depletion in response to increased aquaculture waste.
​​Apollo Marco Lizano, Filippinene 
​​Population genomics of Calanus hyperboreus in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans
​​Isabel Wagner, Tyskland
​​Spatio-temporal genomics of elasmobranch populations in the context of fishery management and conservation
​​Aurelien Delaval, Frankrike
​​Population genomics and spatial planning of endangered elasmobranchs in the north east Atlantic
​​​Michael Daniel Streicher, Tyskland
​Marine Aquaculture and the Environment: Effects of Multiple Nutrient Sources ​

Genomics Division

​PhD fellow
​Working title
​​Asan Mohideen, India
​​Comparative studies on small non-coding RNAs in different ray-finned fish species during embryonic development
​​Kathiresan Purushotaman, India
​​Regulatory transcription and proteomics in early developement of Zebrafish
​Melissa Michelle Brandner, England
​Next generation biodiversity assessment and environmental monitoring of benthic communities using high-throughput DNA metabarcoding
​​​Amalia Mailli​, Hellas 
​​Assessing diversity and function of benthic communities by means of metatranscriptomics
​​Kyle Rogers, USA
​​Stressmark - Molecular characterization of stress in cleanerfish
​​Arseny Dubin, Russland
​​Immuno-genomic exploration of Anglerfish
​​Ioannis Konstantinidis, Hellas
​​Novel hydroxymethylation changes associated with growth of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) during domestication

PhD Defences at FBA

Application deadline and admission

ECTS Credits 180
Study level Ph.D
Scope Full time
Teaching language English
Police certificate of conduct No
Campus Bodø and Steinkjer

Application deadline and admission

More information