PhD position in marine governance

The Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) GmbH in Bremen is a member of the Leibniz Association, which is supported by the German Federal and State Governments. Through its research, Leibniz-ZMT GmbH contributes to developing science-based strategies for sustainable use of tropical coastal systems ( In the frame of the project ‘Resilience of Pacific Island coral reef social-ecological systems in times of global change (REPICORE)’, a PhD position in marine governance is available as of 1 September 2014. The project is an interdisciplinary approach that includes collaboration with international experts and partners from the region. It combines social and natural sciences in the conception and implementation of the project to achieve a more holistic understanding of coupled social-ecological systems. It examines marine resource use and coastal livelihoods across three Melanesian countries (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji) in conjunction with field assessments of reef fish and benthic communities and meta-analysis of secondary data. The overall aim is an improved understanding of social-ecological feedbacks that erode or strengthen coral reef resilience and identify potentials for including information on social-ecological resilience in coastal governance by drawing on formal and non-formal management institutions.

This work focuses on identifying feasible governance structures that contribute to the sustainable use of coral reef resources by addressing and mitigating negative social-ecological feedbacks and leading to sustainable human-nature interactions. Towards this end, field research will examine how governance structures in Melanesia respond to environmental and socio-economic changes. It will address which kind of management arrangements are most likely to function under, and respond to, the current changes, and support desirable social-ecological dynamics. This examination will also consider the different local and national frameworks for marine management and differences in governance effectiveness in the three study countries. The position is offered in collaboration with Dr. Shankar Aswani of Rhodes University/South Africa and Dr. Joshua Cinner of James Cook University/Australia and is co-supervised at the ZMT by Prof. Dr. Achim Schlüter. Requirements: Candidates must hold an MSc or equivalent degree and must be willing and able to work extended periods of time at remote locations with limited infrastructure. Previous experience in the field of marine governance, particularly in the South Pacific, as well as with interviews of government stakeholders is desirable. Good communication skills, knowledge of Tok Pisin/Pijin and/or Fijian and the proven ability of good scientific writing are additional assets.

Appointment is for a duration of three years, and the closing date for applications is 16 July 2014 or until qualified candidates are identified.

Go to top