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.

Programme outline

The PhD programme in Aquatic Biosciences integrates four areas of specialisation - Aquaculture, Ecology, Genomics, and Animal science, production and welfare - which correspond to the strategic research divisions at the faculty

As a doctoral candidate at our faculty you are affiliated with one of the strategic research groups. Individual PhD projects may 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 utilisation and management.

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

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

The training component consists of mandatory coursework of 10 credits: Ecological and Interspecies Ethics (5 credits) and one PhD level course (5 credits) in a subject area directly related to the student's thesis. The remaining 20 credits of the training component consist of elective coursework. A minimum of 20 credits must be secured from PhD-level courses. 

A detailed course overview of the PhD programme can be accessed in the accordion menu below "Study model". PhD students are encouraged to choose courses from the study programme, provided they are relevant for their doctoral education. 

PhD courses c​onducted at other universities in Norway or abroad may also be recognised as part of the training component, if no suitable courses are available at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture.

Research component
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, which
 contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge and meet international standards in the field. 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. 

Overall objective of a doctoral education in Aquatic Biosciences
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.​​​​​​

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 B (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 be able to source financing for the entire period of the doctoral studies (3 years). Possible funding sources may be a PhD fellow position financed by the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, if available, and other external sources, e.g. from the home country. Private funding (e.g. ​own or family's financial resources)​​ does not normally​ qualify for admission to the PhD programme. Documented funding from research fellowship positions, scholarships or governmental/business bodies is required.


Particularly about PhD fellowship positions:

PhD research fellow positions at our faculty are generally fully funded for three years. These PhD positions are linked to a specific research project​. Successful applicants for this position will be offered employment to enter the PhD programme in Aquatic Biosciences. ​Available research fellow positions funded by the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture will be announced on the university's website.​​ Here you will find available​ positions​​​​


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

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.

Further education

PhD is the highest form of academic education offered, and signifies the conclusion of studies.

Study abroad

Doctoral education at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture is internationally oriented. Candidates are expected to contribute to international conferences and publish in international peer-reviewed journals.


Based on the nature of the research project, you will complete part of your studies abroad, either in the form of prolonged research stays/visits at international institutions or by completing some of your courses abroad.

​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 30
Study level Ph.D
Scope Full time
Teaching language English
Police certificate of conduct No
Campus Bodø / Steinkjer

Application deadline and admission

More information