PhD Position in Evolutionary Population Ecology

Trondheim, Norway
11 Apr 2019
End of advertisement period
20 May 2019
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

Population and evolutionary dynamics depend critically on the outcomes of dispersal events among sub-populations, and resulting spatial movements of individuals and genes. Immigration and resulting genetic introgression can increase sub-population fitness by alleviating local inbreeding (i.e. ‘genetic rescue’), but can also decrease sub-population fitness by introducing alleles that are locally maladaptive (i.e. ‘immigration load’). Yet, it remains unclear how such effects can work together to increase or decrease the chance of local population persistence in the short-term and the longer-term.

This PhD project will use exceptional long-term data from free-living song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) to dissect the short-term and longer-term effects of immigrants on population genetic composition and local fitness. It will also aim to bring together strands of evolutionary theory to provide new insights into the compound evolutionary effects of immigration in fragmented populations with inbreeding and local adaptation.

The student will work with Professors Jane Reid and Henrik Jensen at NTNU, with strong collaborative links with Professor Peter Arcese and Dr Pirmin Nietlisbach (University of British Columbia, Canada), and Professor Lukas Keller (University of Zurich, Switzerland).

We have a fully-funded PhD position in Evolutionary Population Ecology available at the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, NTNU.

The Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics is a leading cross-disciplinary Centre of Excellence, with primary interests in population ecology, evolutionary biology and community dynamics. It works at the interface between biology and mathematical sciences, and strives to apply cutting-edge theoretical and statistical frameworks to field data to resolve key questions in the context of both fundamental and applied science. Further information is available at

Job description

The PhD project will involve sophisticated statistical analysis of existing long-term field data, and theory development using mathematical and/or simulation approaches. There will be opportunities to participate in fieldwork and further research training in Canada and Switzerland. The project would suit a highly motivated and numerate student with enthusiasm for confronting evolutionary theory with field data. Full training in key aspects of the project, and associated transferable skills, will be provided. The position provides an excellent opportunity for students who wish to qualify for future work in research positions.

Qualification requirements

We seek candidates who have a strong academic record and interests in quantitative evolutionary ecology and/or population biology, of any nationality and country of educational origin. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) in biology or equivalent education, with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

 Other desired qualifications:

  • Good competence in R and/or other programming languages
  • Willingness to learn and extend new forms of statistical and/or mathematical analysis
  • Some foundational knowledge of relevant topics in evolutionary biology, for example inbreeding depression, heterosis, genetic rescue, would be an advantage
  • Some experience of fieldwork, or of utilising field data, would be an advantage
  • Good written and oral English

Personal characteristics

  • Highly motivated and enthusiastic about population ecology and/or evolutionary biology
  • Excellent team-working and written and verbal communication skills

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 449 400 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is for 3 years (with a possibility for up to one year extension with teaching duties). Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Biology (

As a PhD candidate, you will undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are fully qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criterias in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

Information about working at NTNU can be found here:

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Prof. Jane Reid, e-mail

About the application

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to include a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please refer to the application number NV-42/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 20.05.2019

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Biology 

We work with global challenges in natural diversity, climate, the environment, health and nutrition. Our expertise in biological processes at all levels – from molecules to ecosystems – contributes to a sustainable society. The Department educate graduates for a wide range of careers in public administration, business and academia. The Department of Biology is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline 20.05.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Jobbnorge ID 168920