Two 2-yr postdocs on: Past and future impacts of rewilding on European biodiversity and climate mitigation

Feb 01, 2023 22:59:00 GMT+00:00
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The Department of Biology, Aarhus University invites applications for two 2-year postdoc position on the WildE Horizon Europe project: climate-smart rewilding –ecological restoration for climate change mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity support in Europe.Rampant climate change and biodiversity loss present the greatest challenges to the integrity of Earth’s biosphere.

To avoid a catastrophe, large-scale and coordinated action is needed, including ambitious ecosystem restoration. This project aims to quantify how different implementations of ecosystem restoration and rewilding affect biodiversity and climate change mitigation in Europe. In the context of this project rewilding is defined broadly as ecosystem restoration that aims to reduce human control and increase natural dynamics, i.e. ranging from passive land abandonment to trophic rewilding with reintroduced megafauna.

The project has two parallel goals: 1) quantify how biodiversity and climate change mitigation variables have responded to past and ongoing ecosystem management (conservation, restoration, rewilding) in areas around Europe and 2) quantify how future climate change and restoration (land-use) scenarios may affect biodiversity across Europe.

Starting Date and Period

The positions are for 2 years and are available from April 1, 2023, or soon thereafter.

Job description

The first postdoc position will focus on quantifying historical trajectories in relevant biodiversity and climate-related variables in a large macroecological analysis of areas with different ecosystem management histories across Europe. The data will predominantly be from satellite remote sensing (Landsat for historical data, supplemented with recent data from Sentinel and GEDI), but may include spatial biodiversity data of plants and potentially other taxa.

The second postdoc position will focus on translating future scenarios of land-use (incl. restoration) and vegetation states (produced by project partners) to biodiversity implications at the European scale. The work will link predicted vegetation type to potential species composition using functional traits and species indicator values (e.g. Ellenberg for plants). Focus will be on plants, but may also include other taxa, especially mammals and birds. We will draw on the rich European data archives on survey, functional trait, ecological indicator and other biodiversity data.

Your profile

For both positions applicants must have a PhD degree in ecology, geography or equivalent, or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. Strong expertise with quantitative ecology is expected, in combination with solid skills in spatial modelling. Strong coding skills are essential (at least one of R, Python, Google Earth Engine JavaScript) for both positions.For the first postdoc position experience with remote sensing data is required to help obtain ecologically relevant information from remotely sensed variables.For the second postdoc position experience with modelling species ranges or experience with large occurrence and trait data are an advantage.

Specific insights into the ecology and distribution of study taxa (plants, mammals, birds) would also be an advantage. The successful candidates are expected to have strong collaborative skills as they will work closely together and with the supervisors, as well as with international wildE partners. Candidates must have proven abilities to publish at a high international level and have excellent command of English. International applicants who do not have English as their first language must prove excellent English language writing skills and fluency.

Application materials

The application must be in English and include a motivation letter including a 1-page outline of your ideas for the postdoc research project, 2-page CV (including number of citations and H-index from Google Scholar), full list of publications, as well as educational documentation (copies of diplomas for Master and PhD degrees, in English or Danish).

Supervisor and collaborators

Assistant professor Robert Buitenwerf and Professor Jens-Christian Svenning will be the supervisors. The postdocs will join the Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity (EcoInf) at the Department of Biology at Aarhus University. EcoInf harbors strong expertise in macroecology, remote sensing, and megafauna and vegetation ecology, as well as in ecology and biodiversity broadly.

EcoInf constitutes an ambitious, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and highly international research community and currently hosts several centers of excellence including ECONOVO, a Center of Excellence focused on improving our insights into emerging novel ecological conditions and how to steer these conditions towards the most positive outcome possible. Local and international collaborators from within the wildE project will be included where relevant. Postdocs and PhD students are encouraged to collaborate within the group, across departments, and with other universities.

What we offer

The successful candidate is offered:

  • an ambitious, creative, and friendly research environment, inviting lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research
  • a working environment with teamwork, close working relations, network activities among young scientists and social activities
  • a workplace characterized by professionalism, equality, and a healthy work-life balance
  • access to a well-developed research infrastructure, office space, shared equipment

Place of Work

The place of employment and work is Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity (EcoInf), Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 116, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

About the Department

The Department of Biology hosts research programs and teaching curricula that cover all major biological sub-disciplines. The Department currently employs approximately 140 academic and technical staff and 40 PhD students. The Department hosts BSc and MSc study programs in Biology with about 400 students enrolled as well as a PhD program. The Department offer a vibrant and informal research environment with a long-standing tradition for collaboration with international university partners in the absolute elite. The working language is English, and we welcome applications from all genders of all backgrounds. Read about the Danish work-life balance, special opportunities for junior researchers, and the services available when relocating to Aarhus University here. The campus of Aarhus University is located in a beautiful park close to the city center (population 300.000).Life quality and time allocation to family life in Denmark is high, and international investigations usually report that no other nationality score higher in terms of life satisfaction.You can read more about the Department of Biology here.

Contact Information

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Assistant Professor Robert Buitenwerf, phone +45 52688455, e-mail:


February 1, 2022

Application procedure

Shortlisting 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.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Natural Sciences 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.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation 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.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.