PhD position in biodiversity modelling and community ecology

Updated: 9 days ago
Deadline: 01 Jan 2022

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About the position

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures.
NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD
positions in each project ( )

The position will be a part of a larger multidisciplinary project "Nature-based solutions for land use transitions towards more sustainable societies ", funded by the NTNU Sustainability call. The project has following main objectives:

  • To quantify how land use changes affect local and regional biodiversity, and to assess the societal costs such biodiversity losses
  • To provide an in-depth understanding of the societal aspects related to land use change and biodiversity loss and identify the roles and rights of stakeholders in defining biodiversity and nature
  • To develop tools to implement compensation and restoration of societal and biodiversity costs into practical planning in order to reach the aims of the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG).

The project involves a collaboration between the following departments at NTNU: Department of Biology, Department of Geography, Department of Natural History, and Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management. The position announced here are located at the Department of Biology and the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD). CBD is a multidisciplinary centre of excellence ( for research into changes in time and space of biological diversity at different organismal levels.

About the position
One fully financed PhD position are available at the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The aim of the PhD project is to study impacts of environmental variation, particularly land use changes, on patterns of biodiversity in time and space. Central tasks will also be to evaluate such impacts across environmental gradients in space, and among different taxonomic groups or trophic levels. To reach these aims, the candidate will work with comprehensive data of species communities from different taxa with recently developed statistical tools to model spatial and temporal dynamics of species communities or distribution.

The candidate will perform empirical case study analyses and multi-species modelling based on case studies in the Trøndelag county in central Norway. The empirical data will be a combination of already collected data, and data collected by the candidate during the project period. Because a central aim for the project is to assess methods to compensate for loss of nature, evaluation of ecosystem restoration will be an important task for the project.

We are searching for a highly motivated candidate with experience from community ecology, preferably also with competence in modelling of interacting species. The successful candidate will be part of a multi-disciplinary research at CBD team covering empirical, theoretical, and statistical expertise in eco-evolutionary biology. In addition, being part of the NTNU Sustainability project "Nature-based solutions for land use transitions towards more sustainable societies", the candidate will be in close contact with PhD-candidates from other departments at NTNU. The project will also be included as a part of the proposed Gjærevoll-centre for biological diversity and green transitions.

The position will suit a PhD candidate who is keen to learn advanced statistical methods for biodiversity modelling and apply them to understand patterns of species occurrences and community dynamics in time and space from intact nature and human-impacted areas. It will provide complete doctoral education to obtain a doctoral degree, including primary research training, PhD-level credit courses, and appropriate teaching experience (if agreed). Research training will include data management, statistical analyses, experience of field data collection, and experience of working within a collaborative research team.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree

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