PhD position, freshwater biodiversity in managed forests under climate change

Updated: about 1 month ago

Department of Forest Ecology and Management

SLU has an international character both when it comes to research and teaching. 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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Name of research project/thesis

Identifying, understanding and managing aquatic biodiversity in intensively managed forests and under an increasingly extreme climate

Research subject 



Ongoing climate change and land-use represent severe pressures on boreal waters, most impacting the smallest natural streams and systems created (ditches) or modified (ditched streams) by humans. In Sweden, extreme drought events and floods are increasingly more common. At the same time, millions of km of small waterways are under pressure from forestry. These anthropogenic pressures represent large threats to biological communities in small waterways, but currently we do not have the capacity to predict their responses, nor to protect them. This PhD project will address the following research questions: 1) What are the differences and similarities in biodiversity among natural and artificial small forest waterways? 2) How does biodiversity respond to disturbances caused by hydrological extremes, and are those responses influenced by the magnitude of disturbance due to forestry? 3) What indicators can be monitored in small forest waterways to effectively evaluate their ecological status, and can they be integrated into regional, national, and international monitoring programs? The project aims to use cutting-edge techniques including DNA metabarcoding (invertebrates, diatoms, bacteria) to assess aquatic biodiversity and to evaluate how those techniques can be used in assessment.

The student should start the position during the spring 2024. This position is fully funded for four years with the expectation that the candidate will complete a PhD-degree within this time. There may be potential to extend the length of the PhD contract with teaching, but the successful candidate is expected to be primarily researched based. The PhD student will be under the supervision of Dr. Lenka Kuglerová (main supervisor) and Dr. Eliza Maher Hasselquist, at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU in Umeå, and Dr. Brendan McKie and Dr. Maria Kahlert, at the dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU Uppsala. The student will also have a chance to work closely with an interdisciplinary group of researchers with diverse expertise.



  • MSc. in a relevant subject (ecology, biology, forest science or similar)
  • Experience with data analyses
  • Experience with ecological sampling and field work
  • Strong work ethic
  • Excellent oral and written communication in English
  • A valid driver’s license  


  • Experience with metabarcoding/eDNA techniques
  • Experience with ecological stream sampling (macroinvertebrates, algae, microbes or similar)
  • A working knowledge of species traits and different approaches for quantifying biodiversity
  • Experience with working independently & organizing own work schedule.
  • Experience with working successfully within a team.

Place of work:      


Forms for funding or employment:

Employment as PhD student, full time for 4 years

Starting date:

Spring 2024 


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is October 31 2023.

Application Information

The application must be written in English and include the following:

Evaluations will be based on the application letter, references, interview and relevance of previous experiences.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English. More information about the English language requirements can be found here:

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, or equivalent, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

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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