PhD position in ecology with a focus on the role of (deep) root dynamics in permafrost-climate feedback

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 25 Mar 2024

23 Feb 2024
Job Information

Umeå universitet

Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology
Research Field

Environmental science » Ecology
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

25 Mar 2024 - 22:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, Sweden, invites applicants for a PhD position in ecology, with focus on the role of (deep) root dynamics in permafrost-climate feedback. Start date will be 2024-08-01, or according to agreement. Application deadline is 2024-03-25.

Project description
Permafrost soils contain twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, which they have protected for millennia. As arctic temperatures soar and the rate of permafrost thaw accelerates, there is a growing concern about large carbon losses from permafrost soils into the atmosphere. Even though around 80% of plant biomass in the arctic tundra is belowground, the crucial role of roots in carbon cycling remains unquantified. Roots can promote new carbon storage but also stimulate losses of old soil carbon. Here, deep roots are likely to be disproportionally important, as they increasingly interact with newly-thawed, vulnerable soils. Yet, few studies include root measurements, particularly in deeper soils. In this project we will quantify the role of deep roots in the carbon-climate feedback from thawing permafrost soils by using a long-term field experiment combined with a complementing microcosm experiment. The results will define the importance of root dynamics in deep soils and strongly improve our ability to predict feedbacks from arctic tundra to climate change. 

Work tasks
The holder of the position will assess changes in root production and decomposition with warming and permafrost thaw, selectively exclude roots at different depths and then measure changes in gas fluxes and release of millennia-old soil carbon. This will be done in an established field experiment combining warming and permafrost thaw in northern Alaska, USA, and root exudation effects on soil carbon cycling will be measured in a controlled microcosm experiment.

The position is financed by Umeå University. The main supervisor will be Dr. Gesche Blume-Werry with Dr. Ellen Dorrepaal as co-supervisor.

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad, or equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level within the subject of ecology, the applicant is required to have completed courses within a first-cycle subject relevant to ecology comprising at least 120 credits. At least one course at second-cycle level in a subject that is central to the doctoral student's planned specialization shall have been completed, as well an independent piece of work (degree project) with relevant specialization of at least 15 credits.

The recruitment procedure for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen Chapter 5 and 7). The requirements should be met at the time of acceptance to doctoral studies.

We are looking for a person with an interest in plant-soil interactions in arctic ecosystems, experience with fieldwork, and an academic background in ecology, physical geography or a similar field. The successful applicant should further have good ability to write and speak in English, creativity, power of initiative, independence, good interpersonal skills, ability to collaborate; and a driving license for cars. Strong merits are knowledge of arctic terrestrial ecosystems and experience in statistics, as well as experience in one or more of the following: measuring plant and soil parameters, greenhouse gas fluxes, or the use of stable isotope techniques.

Evaluations will be based on the application, references, and interviews.

Terms of employment
The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the doctoral student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in the described research project but also to take relevant courses. Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years at full time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is fixed according to the established salary level for doctoral students.

How to apply
You apply through our recruitment system on xxx at the latest. The application, written in English or Swedish, should include:

  • A short (max 2 pages) description of why you are interested in and suitable for the position
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Certified copies of degrees and certificates from higher education
  • List of completed university courses and the grades
  • Copy of degree thesis and possibly other scientific publications
  • Names and contact information of three reference persons
  • The documents should preferably be in PDF-format or alternatively MS Word.

    If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Gesche Blume-Werry, [email protected] or Ellen Dorrepaal, [email protected] .

    The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science (EMG) is both a research and teaching department situated within the Umeå University campus. The department has approximately 140 staff members, of which 30 are PhD students. For more information, visit 

    Research Field
    Environmental science
    Education Level
    Master Degree or equivalent

    Research Field
    Environmental science
    Years of Research Experience

    Additional Information
    Work Location(s)
    Number of offers available
    Umeå universitet

    Where to apply




    Similar Positions