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PhD student position on Antarctic vegetation ecology and remote sensing

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 quantify the cover of dominant cryptogam groups along the Antarctic Peninsula region. A central question within this package is: ‘How much vegetation cover is there along the Antarctic Peninsula?’ By linking surveys of vegetation type and cover to remote sensing methods we aim to scale plot measurements to the entire Antarctic Peninsula region. To unravel the mechanism behind species specific reflectance spectra, the intended PhD will also work on physiological aspects and characteristics of the main cryptogam (lichen and moss) groups.

Your duties

  • Quantify cover of dominant cryptogam groups at various field sites along the Antarctic Peninsula. Use remote sensing techniques to scale plot measurements to regional cover of dominant cryptogam groups along the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Unravel the morphological/physiological mechanisms behind cryptogam specific reflectance spectra
  • Make vegetation maps of dominant cryptogam groups along the Antarctic Peninsula
  • The applicant will present the results at national and international conferences, and contribute to teaching courses
  • Write four peer-reviewed publications that will be the basis of the PhD thesis


  • MSc in Ecological Sciences or comparable, with relevant research experience
  • Experience with cryptogam ecology/identification is a plus
  • Experience with remote sensing methods 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 for 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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