Post-doc position: Non-linear temperature responses of plant and soil communities

Updated: about 2 months ago

The department includes about 100 people of which 11 are professors. Our mission is to advance the understanding of forest ecosystems and how these should be managed today and in the future. For more information:

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Thresholds and tipping points to global warming

Terrestrial ecosystems are important in providing key services to humankind, but under global warming the provisioning of such ecosystem services is at risk. However, there is little consensus on how the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems will change under projected scenarios of global warming, or when we will reach or surpass thresholds and tipping points. In the ERC-funded project THRESHOLD, we will unravel ecosystem responses to increasing temperatures in terms of the underlying non-linear responses of plants, soil organisms (microbes, nematodes, and other fauna) and their communities.

The position is fully funded for two years. The main supervisor for the post-doctoral researcher will be Dr. Paul Kardol (Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Umeå). In addition, the supervisor team consists of Dr. Maja Sundqvist and Dr. Sandra Jämtgård (Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Umeå), Prof. Aimée Classen (University of Michigan, USA), and Prof. David Wardle (Umeå University, Sweden).  


We seek a post-doctoral researcher to study how shifts in the composition of plant and soil communities under global warming impact key carbon and nutrient cycling processes. Here, the focus will be on quantifying the shape of response functions. An important question is whether non-linearity in plant and soil communities can be used to predict where thresholds and tipping points in ecosystem responses occur. For this, you will 1) use forest-alpine ecotones (from woody- to herbaceous-dominated vegetation) which cover temperature gradients on par with expected global warming scenarios. This will involve fieldwork in New Zealand and possibly Japan; 2) Run a mesocosm experiment using a series of climate chambers programmed according to a range of temperature scenarios. For this experiment, you will construct plant communities of varying trait composition.


We seek an enthusiastic, responsible, and highly-motivated candidate with excellent and interpersonal communication skills in verbal and written English, and a strong work ethic. We seek someone capable of conducting primary research (in the field and in the lab) and developing scientific publications targeted for prominent international journals. The successful candidate should have excellent organizational and problem-solving skills, be good at communicating with groups, have a sense of adventure, and be willing to travel to different field locations and be away from home for extended periods of time. Working conditions in the field may be challenging at times and it is important that when things do not go a planned, you quickly adjust and find a way forward.  

We seek someone with a PhD in ecology or closely related field, particularly with an plant and/or soil community ecology. And interest in soil fauna (nematodes, collembola, mites) is desirable. The candidate must have proven proficiency in writing and publishing peer-reviewed scientific papers. Good numerical and statistical skills are important. A valid driving license and passport is required.

As postdoctoral appointments are career-developing positions for junior researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a doctoral degree that is three years old at most.

Place of work:

Umeå or Uppsala, Sweden*

* Employment at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology can be discussed, depending on the candidate’s research interests and personal preference.

The Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology provides a dynamic and international environment that comprises experts who conduct fundamental and applied research on interactions between microorganisms and plants, mycology, microbial ecology and evolution, and biodiversity. For more information:

Form of employment: 

Temporary employment 24 months.



Starting date:

December 1 2023 or January 1 2024


We welcome your application no later than October 18 2023 , use the button below.

Specific documents attached: The application should contain the following written in English: 1) a cover letter describing yourself and your match to the above-mentioned project; 2) a CV describing your education, publications, and relevant work experience, 3) names and contact information for at least three references, and 4) PhD diploma.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer, and we particularly look forward to applications from under-presented groups in this area of research.

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a key role in the development for sustainable life, based on science and education. Through our focus on the interaction between humans, animals and ecosystems and the responsible use of natural resources, we contribute to sustainable societal development and good living conditions on our planet. Our main campuses are located in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, however, the university also operates at research stations, experimental forests and teaching sites throughout Sweden.

SLU has around 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and doctoral students and a turnover of over SEK 3 billion. We are investing in attractive environments on all of our campuses. We strive to provide a work environment characterised by inclusivity and gender equality, where different experiences generate conversations between people and pave the way for science, creativity and development. Therefore, we welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

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