Postdoctor in Quantitative plant ecology

Ref PAR 2023/1262

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Postdoctor in Quantitative plant ecology

At the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) we have teaching and research activities that stretch from the alpine ecosystem, through forests, cultivated land and streams, all the way into the marine environment. In these environments we study different levels of biological organisation from genes, individuals and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics and combinations of these fields in order to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment.

The department is placed at two different localities: in Natrium located on Medicinareberget in Gothenburg and Kristineberg Marine Research Station located in Fiskebäckskil. The current position is placed at Natrium, Gothenburg.

Subject area 

Plant ecology, global change ecology, biodiversity change, quantitative ecology


Subject area description 

Human activity is leading to rapid changes in the distribution and diversity of species on Earth. Understanding these changes and their consequences for human well-being is vitally important but is hampered by a lack of global, comprehensive monitoring data. Together with international collaborators, we have compiled a large database of plot-based plant community monitoring data from many habitats across the globe, with the goal of exploring how the composition, diversity, and function of plant communities has changed over the past century. The specific topic of the project is flexible and will be decided together with the supervisor; potential topics include understanding what traits enable a species to cope with environmental change, identifying the drivers of diversity change, or testing ecological theories of community dynamics.



This employment will combine aspects of plant ecology, global change ecology, and quantitative ecology to conduct multi-site syntheses of ecological data, including:

  • addressing novel questions related to how environmental change drives shifts in plant community composition, abundance and diversity
  • compilation, management and manipulation of large, complex datasets – including correspondence with data collectors and collaborators
  • using advanced quantitative methods to analyze hierarchical datasets (e.g. Bayesian hierarchical modeling) in R (preferred) or another programming language; version control and code-sharing using GitHub
  • writing scientific manuscripts to present the results of this research in a clear, impactful way

In addition to research, the postdoc will assist in teaching in a Master’s-level plant ecology course. Other teaching opportunities (up to a maximum of 20% of time) may be possible if desired.

Fieldwork is not anticipated for this position but may be possible if desired.



The eligibility criteria for employing teaching staff are set out in Chapter 4 of the Higher Education Ordinance and in the Appointment Procedure for Teaching Posts at the University of Gothenburg.

To be eligible for appointment as a postdoc, the applicant is required to have a doctoral degree, a doctoral degree in art or a foreign degree that is deemed to be equivalent to a doctoral degree. This eligibility requirement must be met before the employment decision is made. 

In the first instance, those who have completed their degree no more than three years prior to the end of the application period shall be considered. Those who have completed their degree more than three years prior to the end of the application period may also be considered in the first instance if special grounds exist. Special grounds relate to leave of absence due to illness, parental leave, commissions of trust within union organisations, service within the defence services or other similar circumstances, as well as clinical service or service/assignment relevant to the subject area. 


Assessment criteria 

We are seeking a motivated person with expertise in the field of plant ecology and a strong background in quantitative methods.

Required qualifications for the employment:  

  • To be eligible for appointment as a postdoc, the applicant is required to have a doctoral degree in Biology, Geography, or another relevant field
  • Excellent communication skills, written and spoken, in English are necessary since we work in an international environment
  • Evidence of previous scientific production (scientific publications, conference presentations, etc.)
  • Background in ecology, biogeography, or similar
  • Extensive experience with statistical methods/programming & data management
  • Ability and desire to work as part of a team, including mentorship of MSc and PhD students in the group

Desirable qualifications for the employment:

  • Experience working with large datasets from multiple sources, ideally global (or biome-wide) in scope
  • Experience in measuring and analyzing plant trait and/or phenology data
  • Background and interest in ecological theory
  • Prior experience working as part of a large (ideally international) collaborative network
  • Ability and desire to teach in the field of ecology 

A major focus of the research group is on the consequences of climate change for Arctic and alpine plant species; thus, prior experience in Arctic/alpine ecology is considered a bonus, but not required.

Personal qualifications:

As leader of an international synthesis project, you will need to coordinate a large group of collaborators and data owners. Thus, good communication and organizational skills are essential. In addition, we seek a new member of our group (the EDGE lab) who will be an active and willing participant in lab meetings, discussion groups, and in helping – informally and/or officially – to mentor junior members of the group.


The application should preferably be written in English and must include:

  • A cover letter with the applicant’s justification for the application, i.e., that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria
  • A list of qualifications (CV)
  • Contact information for at least two references
  • Certificate of PhD exam
  • Complete list of publications, including submitted and accepted manuscripts

The most qualified candidates, in relation to the assessment criteria in the advertisement, are invited for an interview.



The employment is a temporary employment during three years, 100 % of full time, placed at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science. Starting date as soon as possible or upon agreement.


Contact information 

If you have any questions about the position, please contact:

Anne Bjorkman, Senior Lecturer 
Phone: +46 (0)76 618 2547

Åsa Arrhenius, Head of Department
tel. +46 31 786 26 25


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here: 



Submit your application via the University of Gothenburg’s recruitment portal by clicking the “Apply” button. It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline.  

Publications that cannot be attached to the application in digital format should be sent to:   

Department of Biological and Environmental Science
Att: Anne Bjorkman
University of Gothenburg
Box 463
S-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

Label the envelope "Postdoctor in Quantitative plant ecology, PAR 2023/1262". The publications must be received no later than the application deadline.

Applications must be received by: December 12th, 2023


Information for International Applicants 

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit: 

The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.