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PhD position in Polar Invasion Ecology

A 4-yr PhD-position in Polar invasion ecology is available at the Department of Ecological Science, for the research project entitled ‘Aliens in the polar regions’, funded by the Netherlands Polar Program (NWO). Within this project ...

10 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


A 4-yr PhD-position in Polar invasion ecology is available at the Department of Ecological Science, for the research project entitled ‘Aliens in the polar regions’, funded by the Netherlands Polar Program (NWO). Within this project we aim to unravel the impacts of alien plant, cryptogam and invertebrate establishment on the functioning of terrestrial Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems in a warmer climate. What are the consequences of alien invasions for the primary productivity, nutrient availability and carbon cycling in Arctic ecosystems? In particular the large carbon stocks of Arctic tundra are of interest as they have large feedbacks to the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas induced climate warming. In addition, we aim to establish the role of native species that could facilitate, as ‘invasion engineers’, the establishment of alien species. The candidate will perform competition experiments between native Arctic and invasive species under controlled laboratory conditions as well as under field conditions in the Arctic region (northern Scandinavia and Svalbard). The project will contribute to improve the research and environmental management activities related to alien invasions within the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna. The project will be run in collaboration with prof. P. Convey from the British Antarctic Survey.

• Perform competition experiments between invasive and native vascular plants, cryptogams and invertebrates in order to identify potential success of invasive species;
• Quantify the impact of invasive species on the functioning of Arctic ecosystem processes, such as primary production, carbon and nutrient cycling;
• Quantify the effect of invasive species on the release of soil carbon from deeper soil layers using stable isotopes;
• Perform experiments to quantify the role of climate warming on the impact and success of invasive species;
• Identify native ‘invasion engineers’ that could facilitate success of invasive plants and invertebrates;
• Writing of scientific manuscripts and a PhD-thesis at the end of the project.


• MSc in Ecological Sciences or comparable, with relevant research experience;
• Experience with plant and soil invertebrate ecology under laboratory and field conditions (e.g. MSc internship on this topic) is essential;
• Willingness and physical ability to work in remote Arctic regions;
• Proficiency with statistical approaches and use of R;
• Excellent social skills to work in an interdisciplinary international research team;
• English language proficiency both in speech and in writing.


The appointment will be initially for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years.

About 75% of the time is devoted to research, the remaining 25% to education and assistance in courses. The education program is organized by the national research school Production Ecology & Resource Conservation which offers a wide range of courses in scientific methodology and professional development.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at http://www.workingatvu.nl
• Remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
• A minimum of 29 holidays In case of full-time employment;
• A wide range of sports facilities, which staff may use at a modest charge.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of € 2222,00 gross per month up to a maximum of € 2840,00 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD position.

Additional information

For additional information please contact:
Dr. S.F. Bokhorst
Phone number +31 (0)20 5987078
E-mail: s.f.bokhorst@vu.nl
Website: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/stef-bokhorst

Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by a curriculum vitae and the names of one or two references. Applications (mention the vacancy number) should be sent by e-mail before October 30th, 2017 to:
VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
To the attention of dr. S.F. Bokhorst

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

The Department of Ecological Science (DES) answers fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions regarding the relationship between organisms and their environment at the full array of hierarchical levels: from molecular ecology to ecosystem research. The department comprises a dynamic community of researchers and provides an excellent research environment with state-of-the-art facilities and high quality training.