2-yr postdocs on "Long-term evolutionary build-up of megafauna functional structure worldwide"

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 building an integrative paleobiological-ecological understanding of how megafauna functional complexity has built up (notably how predictable this has been , with a focus on the evolutionary dynamics. Methodology: Apply macroevolutionary and -ecological analyses to the rich fossil record for megafaunas globally, with a focus on functional composition. To be able to represent evolutionary dynamics, the postdoc will first build a first phylogeny covering all known Cenozoic megafauna mammals, building on our methodology for a phylogeny for all late-Quaternary mammal species (Faurby & Svenning 2015 http://bit.ly/allmammalphylo). 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 to the postdoc positions must have PhD degree in paleobiology, ecology or evolutionary biology (or equivalent) or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. To be recruited for this position solid experience in ecoinformatics and advanced statistical analyses of large paleobiological and/or ecological data sets. Experience with quantitative paleobiology and/or macroecology is expected. The successful candidate should also 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 long-term build-up of megafauna functional complexity, also including prof. Svenning and a postdoc and a PhD student at Aarhus University, as well as three international collaborators, prof. Felisa A. Smith (University of New Mexico, US), prof. Chris E. Doughty (Northern Arizona University, US) and postdoc Søren Faurby (National Museum of Natural History, Spain), 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. Deadline for applications 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/826835/5285/