Postdoctor in community ecology and trophic interactions

Updated: 8 months ago

The Department of Aquatic Resources (SLU Aqua), Institute of Marine Research, is looking for postdoctor to work with community ecology and ecological interactions in the Baltic Sea. In the Baltic Sea, the trophic interactions between cod, sprat and herring in the pelagic habitat are relatively well understood. Conversely, the interactions between the two main demersal fish species, cod and flounder, have never been empirically characterized and quantified. New studies suggest that competition between the two species could have become particularly strong during the past 20 years and this can have large management implications.

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The successful candidate will lead research to gain a better understanding of the benthic community ecology, with focus on the interactions between cod and flounder and their prey, in the Baltic Sea. Specifically, the general objectives are to (i) characterize the diet of cod and flounder, and quantify their potential interactions in terms of predation and food competition, in different periods, habitats, geographical areas and abiotic conditions; (ii) understand and quantify the interplay between the population dynamics of cod and flounder, as for instance abundance, condition and growth; potentially, also to (iii) develop new conceptual and analytical models of the food-web integrating the benthic and pelagic components; (iv) explore scenarios of ecosystem response to anthropogenic and climate pressures, with focus on the potential trade-offs between cod and flounder. The specific working tasks will be decided depending on the interests of the selected applicant. The researcher must disseminate the project results in scientific peer-reviewed publications.
The objectives of the project will be achieved using field data, different analytical techniques and potentially multi-species models depending on the specific skills and interests of the selected applicant. Long-term, size-structured and spatially-resolved monitoring data on fish abundance and growth are at hand. Detailed diet data collected for both species are also already available, and additional data will be available from the ongoing sampling. The results of the project is expected to generate new knowledge on the ecology of commercially exploited species and of other biotic components to advance ecosystem-based management. The work is associated to the research project "Fish interactions in the marine benthic habitat: a knowledge gap in Baltic Sea fish ecology and multispecies fisheries management”, a collaboration between SLU and Linköping University. The PhD position includes opportunity of exchanges between universities, working and training periods abroad, attendance at scientific conferences, and participation in offshore research surveys.


The applicants must have received their PhD not later than three years ago in biology/ecology/environmental sciences, or statistics/mathematics with focus on ecology, or have an exam equivalent to the Swedish PhD exam with analogous scientific competence. The selection of the successful applicant is mainly based on scientific skills in the relevant research area. Particular merits are considered very good research experience in one or more of the following areas: population dynamics, benthic community ecology, trophic
interactions, food-web modeling and climate/fisheries effects on ecosystems. Documented experience in quantitative evaluation of trophic interactions and ecosystem dynamics is a prerequisite. The candidate should also have experience in statistical analyses of fish diet from stomach content data and/or stable isotopes. The candidate is expected to have experience in statistical analyses of biological, hydrological and fisheries spatio-temporal data, and familiarity to work with large datasets. The candidate should be proficient working with R. Familiarity with field and laboratory work is an asset. The candidate must have excellent communication skills in spoken and written English and proved proficiency to write and publish scientific papers. Personal qualities such as dedication, high degree of selfmotivation, and ability to collaborate are essential.

Place of work:


Form of employment:

Temporary employment, 24 months



Starting date:

According to agreement.


We welcome your application no later than 2020-01-31, use the button below.

The application, preferably in English, should include: 1) letter of interest with explanation of research experience, 2) detailed CV, 3) full publication list including ongoing work, 4) certificate of PhD exam, 5) contact information of two reference persons. Description of other activities relevant to the position, for example teaching experience and awarded external funds, should also be included in the CV.

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

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