Sweden : 2 PhD student-Postdoc positions Dispersal Ecology

Sweden : 2 PhD student-Postdoc positions Dispersal EcologyWe are looking for two young researchers to extend the group’s research line on plant dispersal. These two new researchers will work in the research program of Dr. Merel Soons on a project supported by her NWO VIDI grant ‘Flying, floating or hitching a ride: the dispersal of plants in heterogeneous landscapes’. The goal of this project is to unravel the ecological and physical mechanisms of seed dispersal in realistic, heterogeneous landscapes. To this purpose, mechanistic and spatially explicit models will be built to formalize our understanding of the dispersal process and predict dispersal under varying environmental conditions. The models will be tested against field and lab data, including the tracking of naturally and experimentally released seeds in the field using the newest tracking technologies. One of the two positions will focus on seed dispersal by wind and the other on seed dispersal by water flows.

Qualifications: For both positions a strong background in environmental sciences, preferably with a solid mathematical and/or hydrological education, and strong (spatial) modeling skills are required. Therefore, not only ecologists but also environmental scientists, physical geographers and (eco)-hydrologists are encouraged to apply.

Offer: Each position will be filled with either a 4-year PhD student or a 3-year postdoctoral fellow, dependent on the best candidates. Both positions are full-time.

The salary of the PhD student starts at € 2,042.- and increases to € 2,612.- gross per month in the fourth year of the appointment. The gross salary for postdoctoral fellow is in the range between € 2,861.- and maximum € 3,755.- per month. The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year.

In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project.

More information: terms of employment.

About the organisation: The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 3500 students and nearly 2000 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty’s academic programmes reflect developments in today’s society.

The Ecology & Biodiversity Group investigates the ecological mechanisms that regulate biodiversity and allow for the maintenance of ecosystem functioning in our changing world. The group’s research takes an integrated approach toward identifying how, and to what extent, different components of biological diversity are regulated and how biodiversity and diversity loss impacts ecosystem functions such as carbon sequestration and biogeochemical cycling. Our research utilizes a combination of laboratory, fytotron and greenhouse experiments, (long-term) field monitoring and modeling across a range of ecological, spatial and temporal scales. We pay special attention to above- and belowground communities and their interactions, to spatial processes in the landscape such as movement of organisms and to community assembly following dispersal and colonization.

Thus, we seek to obtain process-based, mechanistic understanding of species interactions and functional responses in order to provide predictive models of how ecosystem components and services will be impacted by climate and land use changes. We apply the results of our studies to provide guidelines for ecosystem management and restoration and species conservation. Our research is imbedded within the environmental, climatic and geological research with Utrecht University’s focus area Sustainability. The group actively supports the Bachelor’s and Master’s teaching programs within the study tracks ‘Plant Biology’ and ‘Ecology and Natural Resource Management’.

On the 1st of January 2013, Prof. George Kowalchuk will be installed as the new head of research group Ecology and Biodiversity. Coinciding with this appointment, the research group seeks to expand and further integrate its research focus of “Understanding and predicting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a changing world”.

Additional information: Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Merel Soons: m.b.soons@uu.nl As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an outline of his/her research plans in a written report and an oral presentation.

Application Deadline : 16 December 2012