Researcher in Plant Ecology and Regulating Ecosystem Services of Nordic Saltmarshes

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 01 Mar 2023

Ref. No. SU FV-4306-22

at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences . (Closing date: 21 December 2022.) Prolonged application time – new closing date: 3 January 2023.

At the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University, research and education is conducted in an international environment. The subject areas are Ecology and Evolution, Ecotoxicology, Marine Biology, Plant Physiology and Plant Systematics. Some of the research has direct environmental and societal relevance and the approach is often broad and interdisciplinary. About 140 people are working at the Department, of which ca. 35 are teachers and researchers and 40 are PhD students. 

Project description
We are seeking a strong candidate for a 1.5 year sub-project within the international BiodivERsa project “NordSalt: Climate Change Impacts and Biodiversity Interactions in Nordic Salt Marshes”, funded by the Swedish research council Formas. BiodivERsA is a network of national and regional funding organisations promoting pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and offering innovative opportunities for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. BiodivERsA is funded under the Horizon 2020 ERA-NET COFUND scheme. 

The NordSalt project is broadly assessing the linkages between biodiversity and blue carbon sequestration in light of climate change and local management of Nordic salt marshes (a.k.a. Boreal Baltic coastal meadows). NordSalt is an international project with partners from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Germany. The project is transdisciplinary and divided into 5 work packages (WP1-5), that each employs junior researchers/postdocs. 

The researcher will work primarily in WP4: “Marsh plant biodiversity patterns and ecosystem services”, co-ordinated by Stockholm University. Saltmarshes are globally highly important for carbon sequestration, responsible for ca. 50% of so called ‘Blue Carbon’ on the planet. Coastal marshes in the Nordic region (“Baltic coastal meadows”) are largely understudied and differ substantially from “classic” macrotidal salt marshes (which are well-studied globally) due to the wide climate and salinity gradients and microtidal nature of the Baltic Sea.

Past work suggests that the composition and diversity of Baltic Sea coastal marsh plant assemblages are heavily influenced by abiotic conditions (e.g. climate, elevation, wave exposure, latitude) and management regime (e.g. livestock grazing), but may also be responding to ongoing and expected climate changes including warming, sea-level rise, and increased floods. Plant composition (e.g. tall- vs. short-grass communities) and diversity could also be important drivers of processes that underpin critical ecosystem services (e.g. sediment stabilization and carbon sequestration) and in theory also influence the susceptibility of the marsh communities – including their carbon sequestration capacity – to climate change. 

Main responsibilities
The position involves 100% research focusing on disentangeling links between abiotic environmental conditions, plant community structure and diversity, soil stabilization/erosion control and carbon sequestration in Nordic saltmarshes, using field surveys and field/lab experiments. Specific tasks include:

  • plan and lead a field sampling campaign along the Swedish coast (summer 2023) including plant surveys and soil sampling
  • conduct laboratory analyses of samples collected in summer 2021 and 2023
  • participate in the sampling of a mesocosm experiment in Hamburg (Germany)
  • possibly assist in joint NordSalt field campaigns in the Nordic countries
  • analyse data, write and submit manuscripts to international journals, and
  • co-supervise MSc student(s) connected to the project.

Qualification requirements
Researchers are appointed primarily for purposes of research and must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country. 

Assessment criteria
In the appointment process, special attention will be given to the quality and quantity of past research, communication skills, publication record and faculty recommendations. Competitive applicants should have

  • a strong background (e.g. a PhD) in plant ecology or comparable topic
  • experience in saltmarsh/wetland plant ecology and/or plant-soil ecology and/or experience of studying linkages between plant community structure/biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and
  • proficiency in field sampling and laboratory work. 

Because of the transdisciplinary nature of the project, experience of cross- and/or inter-disciplinary experience, collaboration with local stakeholders, an ability to communicate well with stakeholders in spoken Swedish, will be considered highly meriting.

Because of the nature of the project, applicants must

  • possess a drivers’ license for car and small truck (B)
  • be able to regularly travel and conduct field work away from home for extended periods
  • be fluent in spoken and written English, and
  • be able to start the position no later than March 1, 2023. 

We seek enthusiastic applicants with a high motivation to do field-based research, who enjoy being part of an international and cross-disciplinary team and is capable of working independently as well as part of a team. The successful applicant will be appointed following a general assessment of their competence and potential for development according to the tasks and prerequisites of the position. 

Terms of employment
This is a full-time, indefinite-term position. Start date no later than 1 March 2023 or as per agreement. 

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all. 

Further information about the position can be obtained from Associate Professor Johan Eklöf , telephone: +46 8 16 13 58 .

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64, , Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89, , and (SEKO). 

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University's recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. 

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references 

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement
    – why and how you wish to complete the project
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: How to apply for a position .

You are welcome to apply!

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