PhD position in Ecology & Conservation of Salt Marshes (1.0 FTE)

Updated: about 2 hours ago
Deadline: 25 Jun 2024

Facing the triple crisis of biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution, Wadden Sea salt marshes are under increasing pressure. Sustainable management scenarios are urgently needed to strengthen their role for safeguarding the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Wadden Sea. In this project TRICMA², we combine a well-designed field approach representing ‘biodiversity scenarios’ with field experiments and mesocosms, where climate, biodiversity, and pollution are manipulated. Ecological connectivity is investigated by studying movement patterns and habitat use of birds. TRICMA² includes a strong societal component by including stakeholders from several socio-economic sectors, including nature conservation, coastal protection, agriculture, and tourism. This project is a collaboration between Dutch, German and Danish research institutes, among which: University of Hamburg, University of Munster, Kiel University, Alfred Wegner Institute, University of Groningen and Deltares/Delft University of Technology, and of four well connected Workpackages (WP’s): a) Social-Ecological Learning & Science-Society Interactions (WP1), b) Ecological Networks (WP2), c) Ecological Connectivity (WP3), and d) Ecosystem Functioning. This position belongs to WP2.

The main objective of WP2 is to assess how the triple crisis affects ecological networks in Wadden Sea salt marshes and adjacent habitats. We will use a combination of descriptive and experimental approaches in shared salt marsh sites in all regions (DK, GER-SH, GER-LS, NL). WP2 tasks include: i) determination of community composition of microbes, benthos/soil fauna, plants, birds, ii) assessment of species interactions (spatial species associations microbes-plants), feeding behaviour (benthos/soil fauna-birds; bird faecal sampling (eDNA), iii) assessment of environmental conditions (hydrodynamics, micro-topography, micro-climate, soils, iv) manipulation of single and combined pressures, e.g. flooding frequency (mimicking SLR), pollution (nutrient loads), and increased temperatures to study impacts on networks (benthos/soil fauna, microbes, plants), v) assessing impact of different warming scenarios (1.5°C and 3°C), hydrodynamics and density of non-native Spartina anglica on benthos/soil fauna, microbes, plants, vi) multifactor lab experiments, studying impacts of single and combined pressures on plant / benthic communities, interactions and performance, vii) long-term manipulation management regimes (small & large herbivore grazing/mowing/abandonment) assessing feedbacks between grazing, soil fauna, microbial, and plant communities under different environmental conditions (elevational gradient, affecting flooding frequency).

Organisation
Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 34,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge. Within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, a 4-years PhD position is available at the Conservation Ecology Group of the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), in the research group of Prof. C. Smit.


For the PhD position, we are looking for a motivated candidate with a solid background in (field)ecology, conservation, biology, environmental sciences or equivalent (MSc level). Besides good analytical and writing skills, the candidate should be interested in setting up and carrying out field and lab work skills, have basic knowledge of relevant field techniques, and be willing to work under (sometimes) harsh field conditions at the salt marshes. Knowledge of the salt marsh system (key-species groups plants and invertebrates) is not a must but a pre. The candidate will be based in the group of Prof. C. Smit (https://www.rug.nl/staff/c.smit/ ), for a period of 48 months (1 FTE).


We offer you, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities

  • a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE). The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years
  • prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected
  • a PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.


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