Postdoctoral position in chemical ecology

Updated: about 1 month ago

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Plant Protection Biology, Unit of Chemical Ecology has an open position for a postdoc in chemical ecology. The postdoc will perform behavioural, ecological and neurophysiological studies connected to insect host plant choice in a changing climate.

The Unit of Chemical Ecology has a long tradition of performing research investigating host plant selection in insects. A central theme has been how host-plant experience affects behavioural decisions, ecological interactions and the neurophysiological mechanisms involved.

This project will investigate how climatic changes and pollutants induced by human activities affect host-plant selection, guided by volatile cues in the polyphagous moth Spodoptera littoralis. The aim is to investigate how future environmental conditions affect volatile composition and emission of selected S. littoralis host plants, and examine how changed conditions influence insect behaviours. Furthermore, the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms based on olfactory cues that guide the behavioural decisions will be investigated. The study will form the basis to predict the potential for host plant shifts and range expansion in S. littoralis and other pest insects.


The project will analyse how odour emissions from different host plants are affected by climatic changes and pollutants. Effects on host plant decision-making processes will be studied in behavioural assays using plants subjected to different treatments of climatic conditions and pollutants. Insect performance bioassays will investigate if the future predicted environmental conditions have differential effects among host plants as larval food and how this affects ecological trade-offs. Neurophysiological studies will be performed to investigate effects on odour detection and integration.


The successful candidate should hold a PhD in biology, with a focus on ecology. Experience with behavioural assays and ecological investigations, especially insect distribution and dispersal, is a strong merit. In addition, good knowledge and experience in insect chemical ecology and methods used within the subject, such as insect development and behavioral studies, odor collection from plants and chemical analysis of olfactory compounds, is a merit. Lastly, experience working with moths, and specifically our model species S. littoralis, is seen as a merit.

The candidate should be fluent in spoken and written English and have excellent communication skills. The candidate should enjoy working in a group environment, as well as demonstrate a solid ability to work independently to advance our research.

As postdoctoral appointments are career-developing positions for junior researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a doctoral degree that is three years old at most.

Place of work:

Alnarp, Sweden

Form of employment:

Temporary employment, 24 months



Starting date:

According to agreement.


We welcome your application no later than 2021-05-14, use the button below. 

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.

Contact person

URL to this page

View or Apply

Similar Positions