at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences. Closing date: 23 February 2018.

At the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University, research and education is conducted in an international environment. The subject areas are Ecology and Evolution, Ecotoxicology, Marine Biology, Plant Physiology and Plant Systematics. Some of the research has direct environmental and societal relevance and the approach is often broad and interdisciplinary. About 140 people are working at the Department, of which ca. 35 are teachers and researchers and 50 are PhD students.

Project description
The Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences invites applications for a four-year PhD position entitled Linkages among biota, biodiversity and food security: A study of seagrass meadows and their associated fisheries in the Indo-Pacific.

Understanding the relationships between ecosystem structure and function is a central question in ecology, which over the last decades has received much interest due to increased knowledge about the links between ecosystem services and human wellbeing, as well as human-driven loss of biodiversity. Even though biota in general is known to form the basis for ecosystem services, the relative importance of ecosystem structure (e.g. what species, traits, etc.) and biodiversity (the variability in species richness, traits, etc.) for ecosystem services and well-being is less known, particularly for marine areas. Moreover, there is a general lack of knowledge on how characteristics of humans (individuals, groups, communities) influence their abilities to access, use and benefit from different ecosystem services.

Against this background, this PhD project will study linkages between ecosystem structure (composition and diversity) and food security, using tropical seagrass meadows on Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Wakatobi (Indonesia) as case studies. Tropical seagrass meadows are a good model system for several reasons: Seagrasses (marine angiosperms) are foundation species that occur globally; have a relatively low diversity (ca 60 species globally); and can support highly productive fisheries of teleost fish and invertebrates. Simultaneously, multiple human disturbances increasingly reduce their diversity and productivity, threatening fisheries and other services.

To assess the complex, social-ecological linkages between seagrass meadows and food security, a combination of approaches will be used; ecological field surveys and experiments, social-ecological surveys of fisheries and fish markets, interview studies with fishing communities, etc. Moreover, the PhD student is expected to collaborate within the newly formed Indo-Pacific Seagrass Network (IPSN); a collaborative network facilitating seagrass research in the Indo-Pacific region.

Qualification requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the general syllabus for doctoral studies in the field of Marine Biology stipulates, that applicants must have completed at least 60 higher education credits in the second cycle of which 15 credits must be from a course in Marine Biology, and 30 credits from a project in Marine Biology. Applicants may also have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.

The criteria used in the selection for admittance to research training in Marine Biology are:

  • knowledge of general scientific theory and methodology
  • knowledge of the research field, particularly tropical seagrass ecology and small-scale fisheries
  • practical experience and knowledge relevant to the research task (e.g. marine tropical field work, interview-based studies, etc.)
  • proven ability to communicate in English, both orally and in writing
  • proven creativity and ability to take own initiatives and work independently
  • analytical ability as demonstrated by a scientific report, paper or degree project thesis
  • willingness and ability to work as a part of a transdisciplinary team, particularly in collaboration with domain experts and researchers from other countries
  • willingness and possibility to independently conduct marine biology field work in the tropics for extensive time periods throughout the PhD
  • the applicant’s personal references (former supervisors, etc.).

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at:

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact Project leader, Associate Professor Johan Eklöf, telephone: +46 8 16 13 58,

Further information about the position can be obtained from the Subject representative, Professor Jonas Gunnarsson, telephone: +46 8 16 42 53,

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S) and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST and Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 20 00 (operator), (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University's recruitment system by clicking the "Apply" button. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. We recommend that you hand in your application, including necessary documents, in English.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest university degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 reference persons

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter (1-2 pages), containing
    - Your expectations from, and intentions with the education
    - Why you are interested in the specific project
    - What makes you suitable for the specific project
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses (max 3 pages)
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/theses and (if any) published research articles (no more than 6 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

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Closing date: 23/02/2018