Lund University, Evolutionary Ecology unit, Biology department

Position ID: 2279-PHD [#13836, PA2019/953]
Position Title: Theoretical/Computational Biology
Position Type: Student programs
Position Location: 24235, Sverige Hörby, Sweden [map]
Subject Areas: Theoretical/ Computational ecology and evolutionary biology
Application Deadline: 2019/04/29 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2019/04/12, finished 2019/11/03, listed until 2019/10/12)
Position Description:    

*** The account for Evolutionary Ecology unit, Biology department, Lund University has expired. ***

Doctoral student in Theoretical/ Computational Biology

Lunds Universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Biologiska institutionen

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Project description: The fact that climate change can cause extinction of species is established, but our ability to study and quantify causality of such effects is challenging. Reliable predictions about future extinctions are thus also elusive. The aim of this project is to develop theory and quantitative methods that can improve our understanding and prediction of ecological and evolutionary processes that structures and maintains biological communities. The Ph.D. student should thus have basic knowledge of how ecological interactions, evolutionary processes, and dispersal of organisms in a variable environment can affect the structure and dynamics of communities. A particular focus will be on the phylogenetic difference between communities (phylobetadiversity), a metric of community structure that contains signals of both ecological, evolutionary and biogeographical processes. The student will formulate general theory of the causal link between process and phylobetadiversity through analysis of spatially explicit eco-evolutionary models. Theory will also be tested against empirical patterns through parametrization and validation of the models, given available data. There will be a particular focus on hummingbird community data from the Andes, which is a global biodiversity hotspot. By fitting models to hummingbird data, we aim to quantify the processes that have structured this unique ecosystem, and possibly predict how this system may respond to future conditions.

The project is at its start-up phase and part of the start-up of Dr. Mikael Pontarp’s research group at Lund University. The student will thus have the opportunity to contribute to the profile of the project as well as the direction it may take. To be able to utilize such an opportunity the student needs to be independent and persistent. In addition, to succeed in a theoretical and quantitative project like this, the student needs experience in and interest of differential equation models, agent-based simulations, evolutionary analysis, and statistics. The project is expected to be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Åke Brännström at Umeå Univeristy, Sweden who will serve as assistant supervisor.

Requirements and qualifications: The candidate should have a Masters degree in ecology/evolutionary biology. Alternatively, the candidate may have a degree in Physics, Mathematics or computer science. Knowledge of interacting ecological, evolutionary and biogeographical processes that underpin community structure and dynamics is desirable. Candidates also need to have proficiency, but not necessarily documented, in working with mathematical modeling, computation and computers and programming, e.g. in Matlab, Python, Julia, C++, etc. Knowledge of model parameterization and validation and Bayesian statistics is also desirable. Important qualities in a successful candidate are outgoing, curiosity, problem-solving, structured, independent and persistent.

Eligibility: Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad. The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment: Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Application: The application should include: • A personal letter with a brief description of qualifications, research interests, motivations, and contact information • A curriculum vitae • Authenticated copies of degree certificates and copies of relevant work such as master’s thesis or articles that you have authored or co-authored • Contact information for at least two reference persons

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

Links to application Swedish version: English version:

Type of employment: Temporary position longer than 6 months First day of employment: As soon as possible Salary: Monthly salary City: Lund Country: Sweden Reference number: PA2019/953 Contact: Mikael Pontarp, Researcher, or Elin Johansson, HR Administrator, +46 46 222 79 21,

Published: 21.Mar.2019 Last application date: 29.Apr.2019 11:59 PM CET

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Contact: Mikael Pontarp, +46708340934
Postal Mail:
Department of Biology, Lund University
Biology Building, Sölvegatan 35
223 62 Lund
Web Page:

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