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PhD student position in Antarctic cryptogam ecology

4 research positions (2 PhDs and 2 postdocs) will be available at the Department of Ecological Science, for the research project entitled “The Antarctic biota count (ABC): a functional trait-based approach to scale biodiversity from plot to region’’, funded by the Netherlands Polar Program (NWO).

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The aim of this work package is to develop a cryptogam trait data set of the dominant moss and lichen species along the Antarctic Peninsula. A central question within this package is: ‘How do different cryptogam species contribute to Antarctic terrestrial carbon and nutrient fluxes?’ A comparison of CO2 flux rates, nutrient content and rock weathering ability as well as morphological and physiological characteristics of dominant cryptogam species should enable us to assign species to cryptogam functional groups. In addition, the PhD student will contribute quantitative data for the cryptogam trait database to be used to underpin decisions on the protection of Antarctic habitats; this database can be used to test how functional trait trade-offs of leaf/shoot morphology and water holding capacity affect carbon gains and nutrient availability.

Your duties

  • Quantify CO2 flux rates of dominant Antarctic cryptogam groups under standardized conditions
  • Quantify potential rock weather activity of Antarctic cryptogams in the field
  • Build Antarctic cryptogam functional trait database
  • Write four peer-reviewed publications that will be the basis of the PhD thesis
  • The applicant will present the results at national and international conferences, and contribute to teaching courses


  • MSc in Ecological Sciences or comparable, with relevant research experience
  • Experience with plant/cryptogam morphological and physiological measurements (e.g., CO2 fluxes) or willingness to learn this
  • Willingness and physical ability to work in cold and remote Antarctic regions for 2-5 months/year
  • 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. Please provide evidence of the latter


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? 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 before November 10th, 2020 to the attention of Prof.dr. Hans Cornelissen.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof.dr. J.H.C. (Hans) Cornelissen
E-mail: j.h.c.cornelissen@vu.nl
Name: Dr. S.F. (Stef) Bokhorst
Phone number +31 (0)20 5987078
E-mail: s.f.bokhorst@vu.nl
Website for both: https://www.amsterdamecology.nl/

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

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