Postdoctoral Research Fellow, quantitative ecology - Bergen, Norway

A Postdoctoral Research Fellow position in quantitative ecology is available at the Department of Biological Sciences (BIO) in the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group (EECRG) at the University of Bergen, Norway.


The fellow will work within the European Research Council-funded project Humans on Planet Earth: Long-term impacts on biosphere dynamics (HOPE). The position is for a fixed term of three years (1 January 2020 – 31 December 2022) with the possibility for an extension of up to six months.


A critical question in Earth system science is what was the impact of prehistoric people on the biosphere and on climate? There is a wealth of information about human impact through clearance, agriculture, erosion, and modifying water and nutrient budgets. Humans have greatly changed components of the Earth system in the last 11,000 years, but have humans modified the major ecological processes (e.g. assembly rules, species interactions) that shape community assembly, structure, and dynamics?

To answer this question, patterns in pollen-stratigraphical data for the last 11,500 years (the Holocene) from over 1000 sites across the globe will be explored consistently using numerical techniques to detect changes in 25 ecosystem properties (richness, evenness, diversity, turnover, rates of change, taxon co-occurrences, etc.). Patterns in these properties will be compared statistically at sites within biomes, between biomes, within continents, and between continents to test the hypotheses that prehistoric human activities changed the basic processes of community assembly and that interrelationships between processes changed though time.


- Applicants must hold a Norwegian PhD or an equivalent degree in quantitative ecology, community ecology, macroecology or biogeography, with particular emphasis on, for example, multivariate data analysis, diversity patterns, ecological change and dynamics, and testing of ecological or biogeographical hypotheses using resampling randomisation procedures. Alternatively, the applicants must have submitted his/her doctoral thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the PhD has been awarded.
- Familiarity with state-of-the-art statistical and multivariate methods of data analysis relevant to community ecology or biogeography is essential.
- Extensive experience in programming in R is essential. Experience in developing reproducible workflows in large ecological, palaeoecological or biogeographic datasets is highly advantageous.
- A strong ecological or biogeographical background is essential.
- The successful candidate is expected to be able to work independently and in a structured manner, and be able to develop and follow through new and challenging ideas.
- The candidate must have the ability to co-operate with others within HOPE’s team in Bergen and internationally as well as within the EECRG.
- Pro-active problem-solving skills are essential in a project such as HOPE.
- Proficiency in both written and oral English is essential.
- Experience of working in large international projects is advantageous.
- Experience of working with palaeoecological data-sets is advantageous.
- The successful candidate should be highly motivated, enjoy the challenge of working with very large data-sets, and understand the relevance of the data and the results, not only in the context of HOPE but also globally.


Applications close 15 September 2019.

See the full position description, and apply here: