PhD Research Fellow in Ecosystems Ecology

University of Bergen
January 21, 2023
Offerd Salary:Salary as PhD research fellow (code 1017
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed term of of 3 y
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
PhD Research Fellow in Ecosystems Ecology UiB - Knowledge that shapes society

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PhD Research Fellow in Ecosystems ecology

The Department of Biological Sciences (BIO) has a vacancy for a PhD Research Fellow in Ecosystems Ecology, focussing on the role of habitat and ericoid mycorrhizal interactions in the carbon dynamics of ericaceous and other dwarf- shrubs under global change. The position is for a fixed term of of 3 years with the possibility of a 4th year with compulsory other work (e.g. teaching duties at the Department). The position is subject to external funding under the project “The underappreciated roles of dwarf-shrubs in responding to and influencing global climate change” (DURIN) funded by the Research Council of Norway and the University of Bergen. See https: // for a description of the project and tasks.

About the project/work tasks:

Dwarf-shrubs are a dominant plant functional group across the boreal, arctic, and alpine biomes, and they play important roles for biodiversity, ecology and ecosystem functioning in the habitats in which they occur. For example, dwarf- shrubs provide important food resources for grazers, pollinators and people, and habitat for other plants, insects, rodents, and birds. Through interactions with belowground fungal networks (ericoid mychorriza), they play critical roles in carbon sequestration and long-term carbon storage in soils, suggesting that dwarf-shrubs may play a critical role in feedbacks from land to the climate system.

DURIN will explore the role of dwarf-shrubs in climate responses and feedbacks across biomes and habitats in Norway, integrating plant physiology, ecology, and ecosystem science. Using distributed observational systems, field experiments, and growth chamber studies, we will obtain fundamental knowledge on how climate change directly and indirectly affects this important plant functional group, and its ecosystem functions and services. This improved process understanding will be integrated in land surface and earth system models to understand the role and contribution of dwarf-shrubs in the feedbacks from terrestrial vegetation to the climate system.

The PhD Research Fellow will be working within WP3 (Ecosystem functioning). This WP uses field and controlled-environment experiments to study the impact of climate, and open vs. forested habitats in different environments (alpine, arctic coastal), along with the role of variation in plant functional traits and ericoid mycorrhiza association, on ecosystem functioning, focusing on carbon (C stocks and dynamics, growth, and decomposition). The candidate will, for example:

  • Take part in the selection of field sites and designing the experimental setup.
  • Establish CO2 flux measurements (net ecosystem exchange and soil respiration) using portable chambers, of different dwarf-shrub species in the DURIN experiments and observational systems.
  • Measure annual growth and allocation and litter decomposition of different dwarf-shrub species under different environmental settings and experimental treatments.
  • Measure ecosystem carbon storage.
  • Develop his/her own research questions and hypotheses related to these experiments and measurements.
  • Collaborate with plant ecologists and climate scientists over synthesis and upscaling.
  • Use open and transparent workflows to manage, analyse, and share the data.
  • Lead and participate in writing and publish collaborative research papers.
  • Qualifications and personal qualities:
  • Applicants must hold a master's degree or equivalent in Biology, Geology, Geography, or a related field, or must have submitted his/her master's thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded.
  • Good understanding of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function, as well as global climate and C cycling, is a requirement.
  • The PhD Research Fellow will plan and organise their own fieldwork. Good outdoor skills are a requirement, and applicants must appreciate field work in alpine and/or Arctic areas.
  • Drivers licence is required.
  • Experience in ecological field studies, a relevant statistical and/or programming background, and critical thinking and writing skills is a requirement.
  • Experience in operation of LiCOR CO2 analyzer (or other gas analysers), assessing above- and below-ground C stock, or decomposition is an advantage.
  • Applicants must be able to work independently, but also demonstrate good collaborative skills, as the PhD will be part of two research projects in a highly integrated research group.
  • Applicants must be proficient in both written and oral English
  • Field work is a team effort, and applicants must be prepared to contribute to common aspects of field work and assist others with their projects in addition to working on their own research program.

    Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.

    About the PhD Research Fellow:

    The fellowship will be for a period of 3 years, with the possibility for a 4th year, consisting of 25 % compulsory work (e.g. teaching responsibilities at the department) distributed over the employment period. The 4th year is contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department and will be decided by the head of department upon appointment.

    The employment period may be reduced if you have previously been employed in a qualifying post (e.g. research fellow, research assistant).

    About the research training

    As a PhD Research Fellow, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. The deadline for applying for admission to the PhD programme at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences is 2 months after you start your position or after the start of the research project that will lead to the PhD degree. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.

    We can offer:
  • A good and professionally stimulating working environment.
  • Salary as PhD research fellow (code 1017) in the state salary scale. This constitutes a gross annual salary of NOK 501 200 (Equivalent to pay grade 54). Further increases in salary are made according to length of service in the position.
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
  • Good welfare benefits.
  • Your application must include:
  • An application letter with brief account of your motivation for applying for the position.
  • A research statement (maximum 2 pages) that describes your research interests and direction related to the advertised position and the DURIN project.
  • The names and contact information for two reference persons. One of these must be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis.
  • CV
  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees, or official confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • Relevant certificates/references.
  • Approved documentation of proficiency in English, cf. English language requirements for PhD admission.
  • A list of any works of a scientific nature (publication list).
  • Publications (if any), including submitted manuscripts and MSc thesis.
  • The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.

    General information:

    For further details about the position, please contact Professor Vigdis Vandvik, +47 47301794. For HR related matters, please contact Mathilde Høgalmen.

    The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position

    The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.

    Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

    The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at all times.

    For further information about the recruitment process, click here.

    Life as a PhD candidate at UiB

    Marion Claireaux tells about life and work as a PhD candidate at UiB.

    About UiB

    The University of Bergen is a renowned educational and research institution, organised into seven faculties and approximately 54 institutes and academic centres. Campus is located in the centre of Bergen with university areas at Nygårdshøyden, Haukeland, Marineholmen, Møllendalsveien and Årstad.

    There are seven departments and several centres at Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Read more about the faculty and departments.


    21st January 2023


    University of Bergen




    Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)


    Fixed Term

    Place of service

    Institutt for biovitenskap

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