The researcher will work in a project funded by the Swedish Research Council on the interactions between herbivores, vegetation and climate.

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

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 three different localities: in Gothenburg Botanical garden, at Medicinarberget in Gothenburg and Kristineberg Marine Research Station. The current position is placed at the Gothenburg Botanical garden with potential visits to the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany.

Subject area

Computational macroecology

Subject area description

The researcher will work in a project funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) on the interactions between herbivores, vegetation and climate. The project will focus on quantifying the importance of herbivory on vegetation structure under natural conditions and the potential for this herbivory driven vegetation changes to influence global climate. This work will build upon knowledge of natural mammalian diversity patterns from the PHYLACINE databasemammalian equilibrium densities and the dynamic vegetation model LPJ-GUESS

The successful candidate will work in collaboration with the project leader, Søren Faurby, as well as external collaborators on the project Thomas Hickler (Senckenberg Research Institute) and Paul Miller (Lund University). There will also be ample opportunity to collaborate with other researchers at the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre (GGBC) where Søren Faurby is a member, as well as the Swedish strategic research area on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate (BECC) where both Søren Faurby and Paul Miller are PIs.

Job assignments

The first task will be to incorporate mammalian herbivory into the dynamic vegetation model LPJ-guess. This will both include programming in order to develop new code that adequately integrates with the existing LPJ-guess code and data-mining in order to get reliable estimates for relevant parameters for different mammalian species.

After this implementation is completed, the researcher will work on two separate projects utilizing the new code. The first will focus on understanding the interactions between herbivores, vegetation and climate in a counterfactual scenario with no megafauna extinctions or extirpations in the Late Pleistocene or Holocene. The second will focus on rewilding and search for potential win-win scenarios where reintroductions of large mammals to selected ecosystems both can restore ecosystem dynamics as they would be without mammalian extinctions and at the same time reduce global warming.


The applicant must hold a PhD degree in an area relevant for the tasks at hand (such as computational ecology, macro-ecology or related subjects) or a foreign exam substantially equivalent to a PhD degree in a relevant subject. The PhD degree must be completed by the time the employment decision is made.

Preference will be given to candidates who have been awarded the degree no more than three years before the application deadline. Applicants with a degree awarded earlier may also be preferred if specific reasons exist. Such specific reasons may be a leave due to illness, parental leave, positions of trust within trade unions, service in the total defense, or other similar circumstances as well as clinical service or service/assignments relevant to the subject area.


Essential qualifications

  • PhD in computational biology, ecology or other relevant field
  • Excellent communication skills in English, written and spoken
  • Documented advanced programming skills in a basic computer language, ideally C or C++
  • Documented ability to work both independently and as part of a larger group

Desired qualifications

  • Ability to independently lead a project
  • A strong publication record (relative to their academic age)
  • Prior experience in C++ (the language LPJ- guess is written in)
  • Knowledge of the study group (mammals)
  • Previous experience in data mining
  • Previous experience working with vegetation dynamics, climate change or ecosystem ecology


The employment is a temporary employment during 3 years with an extent of 100 % of full time, placed at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science. Starting date is as soon as possible or upon agreement.

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 (maximum 2 pages)
  • A list of qualifications (CV)
  • Certificate of PhD exam and other educations of relevance
  • Complete list of publications, including submitted and accepted manuscripts
  • Contact information for two potential references who are familiar with the applicants work
  • A summary of programming skills including a link to relevant repositories or personal homepage where their code is publicly available and a specification of what part of the programming of prior joint projects they were responsible for (maximum 1 page)

The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which will be held in English and over Zoom.

Contact information for the post 

Søren Faurby, Senior lecturer
Phone: +46 73 642 24 82

Henrik Aronsson, Professor and Head of Department
Phone: +46 31 786 48 02


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


To apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to create an account in our recruitment system. 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. 

Applications must be received by: 2022-04-30 

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.


Leave a Reply