2-yr postdoc on "Role of functional and trophic diversity for megafauna effects on ecosystem"

Research Area and Project Description:

This postdoc project is part of the big Semper Ardens project “Megafauna ecosystem ecology from the deep prehistory to a human-dominated future” (MegaPast2Future), funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. Given intensifying human impacts, we are now at a crossroads for Earth’s megafauna. Do we let it become lost or do we attempt to restore it and its functional importance? Therefore, there is now rapidly growing interest in understanding the role of megafauna in ecosystems and in providing the scientific basis for megafauna restoration. MegaPast2Future will provide the scientific basis for acting in this critical situation, via a much improved theoretical and empirical basis, covering both basic science and real-world applicability. The postdoc project will contribute to this broader objective by improving ecological theory for the role of megafauna, to provide a solid theoretical understanding of the importance of megafauna in ecosystems. Notably, it will focus on 1) developing theory for the role of functional (incl. trophic) diversity for megafauna effects on ecosystems, and 2) predicting megafauna community assembly and ecosystem consequences from simple species’ traits, local environmental conditions and landscape setting (to be able guide design of restored megafaunas, which may involve novel species combinations, e.g., due to extinctions of native species. The postdoc is expected to lead at least 2 papers per year in this research area, contribute to the project’s public outreach and teaching (e.g., co-organizing and co-teaching an annual international PhD course in megafauna ecosystem ecology), as well as collaborate with other team members, including students, sharing skills, helping solving problems in her/his area of expertise and more generally contributing ideas and concepts to the project.

Qualifications and Specific Competences:

Applicants must have PhD degree in ecology or evolutionary biology (or equivalent) or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. Solid experience with ecological theory and mathematical modeling is also required, while experience with functional diversity and/or trophic ecology is an advantage. The successful candidate is expected to have strong collaborative skills, proven abilities to publish at a high international level, and have good skills in English and international applicants who do not have English as their first language must prove strong English language writing skills.

Supervisors and collaborators: Project PI prof. Jens-Christian Svenning will be the main supervisor. The postdoc will join a team working on the ecological theory for megafauna ecosystem ecology, also including prof. Svenning and a PhD student at Aarhus University, as well as two international collaborators, prof. Dominique Gravel (University of Sherbrooke, Canada) and Chris E. Doughty (Northern Arizona University, US), plus – a more general level - other team members from other parts of the MegaPast2Future project. The project will support research visits to the collaborators’ labs.

Place of Employment and Work: The place of employment and work is Section of Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity (ECOINF), Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. ECOINF is an ambitious, collaborative and highly international research community. Postdocs and PhD students are encouraged to collaborate within the group, across departments and with other universities. More information about the people and research activities of the group can be found at http://bit.ly/ecoinfAU.

Starting date: October 1st 2016, but negotiable.

Contacts: Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Professor Jens-Christian Svenning, phone +45 28992304, e-mail: svenning@bios.au.dk.

There is funding for 2 years of employment. In case further external funding is procured within the academic areathe candidate is estimated qualified for, an extension can be possible for up to a maximum of 4 years employment.

Application procedure 

Short-listing is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants, including the main considerations emphasized during the selection process. 

Formalities and salary range 

Science and Technology refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. 

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here. Application deadline is June 20, 2016

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities. (in Danish). 

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations. 

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

Job posting: http://www.au.dk/om/stillinger/videnskabelige-stillinger/stillinger/Vacancy/show/826863/5285/