PhD position, Macroecology/Palaeoecology - Bergen, Norway

There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the University of Bergen’s Department of Biological Sciences within the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group as part of the European Research Council funded project Humans on Planet Earth - Long-term impacts on biosphere dynamics (HOPE).


The position is for a fixed term period of three years with the possibility of a fourth year with compulsory other work (e.g. teaching duties in the Department).


A critical question in ecology and conservation biology is to what extent humans affect ecological patterns and processes. Humans have greatly changed the Earth in the last 8000-11,000 years, including in mountains systems. How did humans leave an imprint on species range sizes and elevational diversity gradients in mountains? What did biodiversity patterns look like before humans arrived in an area, and is this comparable to areas with little human impact today? How have the same patterns been affected by humans through time from the small-scale impacts of prehistoric people to the broad scale impacts of the ‘Anthropocene’?

One way to get a better understanding of this is to compare ecosystems with and without human impact, both in time and space. Palaeoecological and macroecological data from around the world will be used to test different hypotheses about how human activities have affected diversity patterns and species range sizes. Human influence on elevational gradient patterns will be explored by comparing patterns for the present, the Holocene and the Pleistocene. The outcomes will be compared to other theoretical explanations of drivers of elevational gradient patterns.

The successful candidate will be primarily responsible (together with the supervisors) for developing tests for evaluating the effect of humans through space and time on species range sizes and developing analyses to compare diversity patterns and range sizes from different data sources in mountainous regions, interpretation of pollen-stratigraphical data for reconstructing range size through time, and applying mapping techniques to assess the patterns over time and space.


Applicants must hold a master's degree or the equivalent within biogeography, ecology, or related fields relevant to the PhD project, or must have submitted his/her master's thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded.

The successful candidate should feel comfortable adopting multi-disciplinary approaches between macroecology/biogeography and palaeoecology, enjoy the challenge of working with large data-sets, and have strong interest in understanding patterns of ecological and human processes in mountains on short and long time scales. Applicants must be able to work independently and in a structured manner, and have the ability to cooperate with others within HOPE’s consortium as well as within the EECRG, and to follow through challenging ideas.

Pro-active problem-solving skills will be highly valued in the candidate. Proficiency in both written and oral English is required. Personal and relational qualities will be emphasised. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.


Applications close 28 September 2018.

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