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  3. Postdoc position in Polar Invasion Ecology

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Postdoc position in Polar Invasion Ecology

A 3-yr postdoc 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 ...

11 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2588 - € 3358 per maand


A 3-yr postdoc 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. The project consists of a PhD positon in the Arctic and the current postdoc position that will focus on the Antarctic Peninsula. In this postdoc project we tackle the following research questions: 1) What are the impacts of alien vascular plant and moss species establishment for the functioning of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystem processes?; 2) How does climate change affect the impact of alien species on Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems?; 3) Which are the main invasion engineers in Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems and what is their impact on alien species?; and 4) Are alien invasive autotrophs invasion engineers for higher trophic levels in the polar regions?
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.

• Establish Antarctic polar soil microcosm experiments under laboratory conditions, using available polar climate data as a basis, and compare ecosystem properties (plant growth, ecosystem respiration, nitrogen cycling and leaching) between intact soil microcosms of native polar model communities, and microcosms where alien species have been added;
• Validate the results from approach 1 under more natural conditions by transplanting the alien vascular plants and mosses along elevation gradients (low, mid and high elevation) as an analogue of alien species moving towards the colder polar regions;
• Quantify ecosystem properties such as: ecosystem respiration, N and P availability through soil extracts and Plant Root Simulators PRS technology, and plant growth between invaded and non-invaded sites;
• 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 give presentations on national and international congresses;
• Act as co-supervisor for the PhD student within this project.


• PhD in Ecological Sciences or comparable, with relevant research experience in polar regions;
• Given the harsh conditions and very complicated logistics in the Antarctic at least 4 years of Antarctic field work experience is required;
• Experience with plant and soil invertebrate ecology under laboratory and field conditions is essential;
• Willingness and physical ability to work in remote Antarctic regions for longer periods of time;
• Proficiency with statistical approaches and use of R;
• At least 6 publications on polar research as first author in refereed journals;
• Excellent social skills to work in an interdisciplinary international research team;
• English language proficiency both in speech and in writing.


The appointment will be for 3 years. About 90% of the time is devoted to research, the remaining 10% to education and assistance in courses. You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like:
• 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.

Additional information

We offer a competitive salary package in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, in the position of Researcher in salary scale 10, ranging from a minimum of € 2588,00 gross per month up to a maximum of € 3358,00 gross per month based on a fulltime employment and depending on experience.

For additional information please contact:
Prof.dr. Rien Aerts
Phone number +31 (0)20 5987211


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.