Director of the Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, invites applicants for the...

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Dec 2022

The recruitment for 24 months concerns OPUS 18 project no. 2019/35/B/ST10/04141, entitled “Linking soil substrate biogeochemical properties and spontaneous succession on post-mining areas: novel ecosystems in a human transformed landscape” funded by the National Science Centre.

Principal Investigator: prof. dr hab. Andrzej M. Jagodziński

Key words: hyperspectral imaging, laser scanning, remote sensing, geoecosystem, spoil heaps, biodiversity, ecosystem functioning.

Project topics:

In the Anthropocene epoch we observe continuous transformation of the environment. This contributes to the novel ecosystems development. Such ecosystems result from recombination of species composition and resources availability, caused by human activity. The knowledge about biodiversity in novel ecosystems and their ecosystem services is scarce. It is also hard to predict how much time novel ecosystems desire to reach level of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning typical of natural ecosystems. In this research project we aim to assess the differences in functioning of natural and novel ecosystems, spontaneously developing in post-coal mining spoil heaps. We will also assess when novel ecosystems will be similar to natural ecosystems. We will conduct our study in Upper Silesia (Poland), region with long-term tradition of coal mining industry. In our research project we will test the following hypotheses:

1. Functions of spontaneous ecosystems on post-mining areas will trend towards the levels of natural ecosystems, increasing ecosystem values along successional gradients of time since abandonment. Due to low resources availability, initial successional stages will reach low biomass and nutrients cycling rates.

2. Alpha and beta diversity of post-mining areas will increase in the first phase of successional development and decrease in the second phase. We assume the peaks of abundance and biodiversity in the intermediate stages of succession, as well as that this patterns will differ among various groups of organisms.

3. Level of completeness of the interaction network among ecosystem functions and diversity of particular organism groups will increase along successional gradients. This will be due to encroachment of late-successional species and increase of resources availability.

4. Levels of ecosystem functions and biodiversity will be strongly dependent on landscape context, i.e. spoil heap shape and area, surrounding ecosystems characteristics and connectivity to their species pools.

In the study we will integrate field measurements with remotely sensed data. In the project we will obtain hyperspectral images and airborne laser scanning for 60 heaps. Linking them with ground-based data will allow to develop models revealing variability of ecosystem functions and biodiversity within spoil heaps, as well as along successional gradients. Results will significantly expand the knowledge about mechanisms of assembling and development of post-industrial ecosystems. This will bridge the gap in knowledge about relationships among biodiversity, ecosystems functioning and their productivity. We assume that our results will help in developing novel analytical frameworks, supporting further studies on ecosystems restoration and biological conservation in post-industrial lands.

In our research project we offer a collaboration with a wide team of scientists, analyzing biodiversity of various groups of organisms: bryophytes, lichens, fungi, bacteria, mites, insects and birds, as well as nutrients cycling specialists. Joining to our research team will support wider studies aimed to increase our understanding of mechanisms of ecosystems shaping in post-industrial landscape. We offer ability to wide exchange of ideas and scientific development in a dynamic team, focused on broad scope of ecological research.

Tasks for the Post-doc: 1) verification and preprocessing of hyperspectral images and airborne laser scanning data for further analyses; 2) development of ecosystems functions and biodiversity models, based on remotely sensed data; 3) application of models to predict ecosystem functions and biodiversity for whole study area and development landscape-scale models.

Additional information may be provided by the Principal Investigator:

prof. dr hab. Andrzej M. Jagodziński, email:

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