Postdoc opportunity in Sponge or Epibenthic Taxonomy (Spain)

EcoAfrik Project welcomes a Marie S. Curie Fellow from the next European call

Research Project Description

The main objective of this exciting project is the conservation of marine biodiversity and benthic habitats in African coasts, particularly in offshore waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This goal will be reached through the reliable identification of species, and the characterization of benthic assemblages and environmental conditions responsible for distribution and composition.

The project is based upon an impressive amount of environmental and biodiversity data, and the comprehensive collections of benthic African fauna collected in the framework of the EcoAfrik Project during 24 research surveys (2500 trawl stations) carried out between 2002 and 2012 on-board Spanish and Norwegian R/V Vizconde de Eza and Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.

The inventory and analysis of the results will identify vulnerable species and habitats, threatened or particularly important (‘hot spots’), and will provide the scientific evidence to recommend the creation of new Marine Protected Areas (MPA). This will encourage the implementation of national and international commitments on protection given by the regional conservation organizations (United Nations Environmental Program [UNEP], Convention on Biological Diversity [CBD]).

This proposal will also contribute to the management and sustainable use of marine resources, the Ecosystem Approach application in fisheries, the strengthening of research capacity of institutions in developing nations and to the environmental education of the wider society.

EcoAfrik Team

EcoAfrik research group is currently integrated by researchers belonging to the Spanish Institute of Oceanography and the University of Vigo, with extensive experience in the multidisciplinary study of biodiversity of benthic ecosystems, particularly in deep African waters.

Both teams have collaborated in biodiversity studies for over 20 years, joining their efforts and human and technical resources to optimize research in this topic. EcoAfrik team provides excellent support for the development of projects aimed to study and conserve deep-sea biodiversity.

This joint team consists of 13 researchers and technicians belonging to the centres of the IEO in Vigo, Cadiz, Málaga, Canarias, Santander and Madrid, and to the Department of Ecology and Animal Biology in the Faculty of Marine Sciences of Vigo University. Currently the group is engaged in the multidisciplinary IEO’s project ‘EcoAfrik’, studying the biodiversity of benthic ecosystems of Africa (, and are institutionally linked through an IEO-UVigo specific agreement signed in 2008. The project is coordinated from Vigo by Dr. Ana Ramos, senior researcher from the IEO, and Professor Fran Ramil of the University, as head of taxonomic research. Because of the multidisciplinary nature, participants in EcoAfrik are specialized in a broad range of marine research, covering taxonomy and ecology, oceanography, marine geology and GIS, as well as scientific outreach.

The project implementation is carried out within the framework of international programs, the cooperation with institutes of African countries and in collaboration with the University of Alicante (outreach) and other European marine research institutes from Norway, Germany and France. Since 2010 EcoAfrik team is responsible, in the framework of CCLME and EAF-Nansen international FAO projects, for the research and formation in benthos at a regional level. EcoAfrik is co-financed for a period between 2013 and 2017 by the MAVA Foundation (639.000 €) and has financial support for the production of a catalogue of benthic species and habitats of Northwest Africa.

Both Institutions, the Oceanographic Centres of IEO and the University of Vigo, can offer the necessary infrastructure and technical support for the project development. The IEO has research laboratories, literature and important collections of fauna linked to the EcoAfrik project. The team of Prof. Ramil has a research laboratory devoted to the study of benthic biodiversity, including optical infrastructure, scientific literature and reference collections. Both institutions also have specialized libraries.

Web page:

We are primarily looking for an experienced specialist in sponges identification or at least a candidate that has previously worked on the taxonomy of epibenthic taxa.

By the deadline for the submission of proposals (14/09/2016), researchers:

  • shall be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience.
  • must not have resided or carried out their main activities in the country of Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the above-mentioned deadline.

Further details on the Call and additional eligibility criteria can be found at the Participant’s Portal

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