Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest institutions of higher education with over 34,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff. We are characterised by world-leading research in several scientific fields and a multitude of educations ranked highly in international comparison. Umeå University is also the site of the pioneering discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors - a revolution in genetic engineering that has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

At Umeå University, everything is nearby. Our cohesive campus environment makes it easy to meet, collaborate and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture where we rejoice in each other's successes.

The department of Ecology and Environmental Science, EMG, Umeå University, is opening a post doc position to study effects of climate change on the structural and functional diversity in microbial communities – from land to sea. The employment is full-time for two years with access on November 1, 2020 or by agreement. Last day of application is September 30, 2020.

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science ( carries out research and postgraduate education in Ecology, Environmental science and Physical geography. The department has about 150 employees, of whom 17 are post-docs.

Project description and work tasks
Microorganisms are omnipresent in all living habitats on Earth and they are key players in the biogeochemical cycles of e.g. carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Microorganisms are affected both indirectly and directly by climate change. Melting permafrost soils release organic material that can be assimilated by microorganisms in soils and watersheds. Increased temperature may directly affect the microbial processes and intensify the emission of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide and methane gas. In northerly areas, the precipitation is expected to increase, which will lead to higher inflows of organic material and inorganic nutrients to freshwater and marine systems. It is likely that the structural and functional diversity of the microbial community will change, which in turn can alter the balance of the biogeochemical processes. There is however, a significant knowledge gap between the functional diversity of microbial communities and biogeochemical processes like emission of carbon dioxide and methane gas. If this coupling can be identified and quantified, it will be possible to better predict large-scale changes of biogeochemical processes on Earth.

In this project, we will develop methods based on Nanopore sequencing techniques, to measure the structural and functional diversity of microbial communities in natural environments, such as wetlands, lakes and coast. The functional diversity is defined as expression of genes coding for different enzymes in relation to the microbial community composition. Experiments will be performed to study how environmental change, for example increased temperature and higher availability or organic material, will affect the diversity and function of microbial communities in different habitats. During incubations the change of organic material and inorganic nutrients will be monitored as will also microbial respiration and the carbon dioxide emission. The structure of microbial communities will be linked to the array of functional traits displayed by the community. Thus, the level of functional and structural redundancy between communities from different environments will be studied, as well as how redundancy is maintained across environmental gradients. The goal is develop a conceptual framework that will give a general understanding of how environmental change affect the functional diversity of microbial communities in different environments from land to sea.

The project is financed by the strategic research programme EcoChange (

A person who has been awarded a doctorate or a foreign qualification deemed to be the equivalent of a doctorate in microbial ecology qualifies for employment as a postdoctoral fellow. Priority should be given to candidates who have completed their doctoral degree no more than three years before the closing date of the application. A candidate who has completed their degree prior to this may be considered if special circumstances exist. Special circumstances include absence due to illness, parental leave or clinical practice, appointments of trust in trade unions or similar circumstances.

The candidate should have documented experience from molecular laboratory work and bioinformatics, including work with sequence data and gene expression of environmental samples.

Good ability to co-operate as well as to work independently and take initiative are required. Good skills in written and spoken English are required.

Desirable qualifications
It is qualifying to have experience from field experiments. Experience with large-scale sequence analysis is a merit, including familiarity with phylogenetic analyses, statistics and programming (e.g. Linux, R, Python). Experience in various modelling approaches is also a merit.

The full application should include:

  • A cover letter describing why you are interested in the project and your suitability (max. 2 pages).
  • A CV, including a list of your publications.
  • A copy of your doctoral thesis and relevant publications (maximum 5).
  • Copy of doctoral degree certificate and other relevant degree certificates.
  • Names and contact details (mail and phone) of three reference persons.
  • Any other documents you wish to refer to.

The application must be written in English or Swedish. The application is made through our electronic recruitment system. Documents sent electronically must be in Word or PDF format. The closing date is September 30, 2020.

For more information, contact Prof. Agneta Andersson (,
Tel: +46 90 7869845).

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-1169-20
  • Agneta Andersson, professor, 090-786 98 45
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-786 53 65
  • SEKO, 090-786 52 96
  • ST, 090-786 54 31
Published 09.Sep.2020
Last application date 30.Sep.2020 11:59 PM CET

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