Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, Sweden, invites applicants for a PhD position in ecology, with focus on how terrestrial plants interact with water chemistry to influence the functioning of boreal streams. The start date will be November 1, 2023, or according to agreement. Application deadline is June 25, 2023.

Project description
Aquatic ecosystems are fueled by terrestrial organic matter in the form of riparian plant litter and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) inputs. In the boreal region, intensive forest management with focus on coniferous monocultures is altering riparian plant species composition and productivity. In addition, the boreal region is already experiencing higher temperatures and altered patterns in precipitation and terrestrial runoff due to climate change. This inevitably leads to changes in quantity and quality of terrestrial organic matter input to streams. As these changes are projected to continue, there is a need to understand how they will interact to influence the role of terrestrial organic matter in aquatic systems and, thus, the ecosystem functions that these systems provide. The aim of this project is therefore to study and quantify how the riparian plant community composition influences carbon uptake by microbes in streams and how this, in turn, may be influenced by the quantity and quality of DOC. This project will thereby advance our understanding of how land use and climate change impact the ecological functioning of boreal streams.

Work tasks
The holder of this position will investigate plant litter decomposition, litter and water chemistry, and microbial measures, and how these change with altered plant litter composition, input phenology, as well as DOC quantity and quality. These investigations will include a field survey, field studies, and mesocosm experiments. All this work will be based in the Krycklan study catchment just outside Umeå, Sweden, and will benefit from previously collected long-term data from the catchment.

The position is financed by the Swedish Research Council (Vr) via Umeå University. The supervisors will be Dr. Micael Jonsson (PI) and Dr. Lenka Kuglerová (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden).

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad, or equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level within the subject of ecology, the applicant is required to have completed courses within a first-cycle subject relevant to ecology comprising at least 120 credits. At least one course at second-cycle level in a subject that is central to the doctoral student's planned specialization shall have been completed, as well an independent piece of work (degree project) with relevant specialization of at least 15 credits. The recruitment procedure for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen Chapter 5 and 7). The requirements should be met at the time of acceptance to doctoral studies.

We are looking for a person with an interest in ecological processes at the aquatic-terrestrial interface, experience with fieldwork, and an academic background in ecology, physical geography, or similar field. The successful applicant should further have good ability to write and speak in English, be creative, and show power of initiative, independence, good interpersonal skills, and ability to collaborate. Strong merits are knowledge of the topic areas; experience in measuring ecological processes in aquatic and/or terrestrial systems, and in statistics, and the applicant should have a driving license for cars.

Evaluations will be based on the application, references, and interviews.

Terms of employment
The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the doctoral student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in the described research project but also to take relevant courses. Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years at full time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is fixed according to the established salary level for doctoral students.

How to apply
You apply through our recruitment system on June 25, 2023, at the latest. The application, written in English or Swedish, should include:

  • A short (max 2 pages) description of why you are interested in and suitable for the position
  • CV
  • Certified copies of degrees and certificates from higher educatio
  • List of completed university courses and the grades
  • Copy of degree thesis and possibly other scientific publications
  • Names and contact information of three reference persons

The documents should be in MS Word or PDF-format.

If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Micael Jonsson, or Lenka Kuglerová, lenka.kuglerová

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science (EMG) is both a research and teaching department situated within the Umeå University campus. The department has approximately 140 staff members, of which 30 are PhD students. For more information, visit

Type of employment Temporary position
Employment expires 2027-10-31
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-11-01 or according to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-560-23
  • Micael Jonsson, 090-7866923
Published 30.Mar.2023
Last application date 25.Jun.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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