PhD student – Ecosystem Ecology of Green Roofs

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
June 10, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management

The Department of landscape architecture, planning and management is a multidisciplinary environment consistings of approximately 85 employees and combining research from natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, design and engineering perspectives. Within the Urban vegetation subject area, we are a collaborative multidisciplinary group of researchers exploring the use of green infrastructure in support of healthy urban ecosystems and human well- being.

This doctoral announcement is part of the faculty's investment in 10 doctoral students in 2024

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at SLU at https: // www.

Project topic: How green should green roofs be? Ecosystem services

tradeoffs and synergies from nitrogen fertilization of green roofs as they age

Research subject: Landscape architecture with specialization in urban

vegetation and management


We seek a motivated PhD candidate to carry out a research project exploring how the plant communities and engineered soil of urban vegetated (green) roof ecosystems change over time as they age, and how these ecosystems are further affected by moderate fertilization with nitrogen.

Green roofs are designed urban ecosystems which have a demonstrated ability to provide a wide range of ecosystem services including water and air quality improvement, habitat in support of plant and animal biodiversity, and aesthetics and restorative environments for people. However, the values derived from these ecosystems depend on the long-term form and function of the plant community and the soil properties, and these have been found to change considerably over time.

In this project, the PhD student has an opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary research within ecosystem ecology, using an existing network of well-studied green roofs in Malmö, Sweden. The main goal is to determine the degree to which nitrogen fertilization of green roofs of different successional stages can influence the plant community and thus the provision of a range of ecosystem services over the long term. This will involve investigating nitrogen cycling processes as they relate to green roof plant and soil communities, but can also involve examining cultural ecosystem services including people's aesthetic preference and restorative properties associated with different plant communities.

The announced PhD position will be supervised by a multi-disciplinary team of senior researchers in ecosystem ecology, plant-soil interactions, aesthetic theory and urban ecosystem services. The PhD student will have considerable freedom to shape the thesis work based on their individual background, skills and interest – thus, we encourage applicants from a broad range of disciplines, however a solid background in plant ecology, botany or microbial ecology/biogeochemistry will be an advantage.

Qualifications: Requirements:
  • Master's degree in a relevant subject (ecology, environmental science, biogeochemistry, landscape architecture, etc.)
  • Documented excellent analytical and writing skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Proficiency in English (written and verbal)
  • Additional merits:
  • Documented knowledge and skills relevant to the subject of study, including plant ecology, ecosystem ecology, soil science, biogeochemistry, and plant-soil interactions
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaborate successfully within a team
  • Proficiency in formulating research problems, objectives, and questions
  • Documented experience in relevant research methods e.g. plant species identification, plan tissue and soil C and N content, greenhouse gas exchange, water quality analyses
  • Documented experience of (co-)authoring academic publications
  • Proficiency with data synthesis and statistical analysis.
  • Valid driver's license (B)
  • Note, the project will include field work which requires carrying field gear and climbing on ladders, requiring reasonably good dexterity and physical capacity; sampling on roofs (following a safety training course) will require using a harness.

    Place of work:

    Alnarp, Sweden

    Forms for funding or employment:

    Employment as PhD student, full-time (4 years)

    Starting date:

    September 2024 or according to agreement.


    Click the “Apply” button to submit your application in English. The deadline June 10 2024

    In addition to the materials listed on the application site, all applications should include two attachments (1) A short (max 2 pages) description of your scientific background, research interests, and how you fulfil the qualifications listed above; (2) Names and contact info for two professional references .

    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 www. courses/doctoral-studies/

    Academic union representatives:

    https: // vid-rekrytering/

    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.

    Contact person

    Ishi Buffam

    Senior lecturer, Main PhD advisor

    [email protected]

    Åsa Ode Sang

    professor, head of unit, Urban vegetation


    [email protected]

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