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Post-Doc Positions in Ecology, Evolution and Statistical Analysis of Plant-Microbe Interactions

Employer
UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Closing date
4 Dec 2023

View more

Academic Discipline
Biological Sciences, Life sciences
Job Type
Academic Posts, Postdocs
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Hours
Full Time

The Research Group of Prof. Anna-Liisa Laine seeks three post doctoral researchers for an ERC funded Advanced Grant project “Coevolutionary consequences of biodiversity change; Co-EvoChange”. The main aim of the project is to uncover how human-imposed disturbance in plant communities affects the ecology and evolution of plant-microbe interactions both above- and below ground, and how these changes scale up to ecosystem processes.

A post-doctoral researcher for a three-year position in plant-microbe interactions

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to study how microbial diversity and the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of above-ground plant-microbe interactions are altered following disturbance in wild plant communities. The planned work consists of survey and sampling of natural plant-microbe communities with known history of change, utilizing sequencing approached to characterize microbial communities, and field transplant as well as controlled experiments to identify key drivers of plant-microbe interactions at the community level under different disturbance scenarios. The selected candidate is expected to take part in designing their project and take full responsibility for its’ implementation from data collection to presentation of results in both scientific journals and conferences. Opportunities for professional development, e.g. in project management, leadership, mentoring, teaching and grant writing, are available and encouraged.

Postdoctoral position requirements:

  • The successful applicant should have a doctoral degree in plant ecology, plant biology, plant pathology, microbial ecology or similar
  • Previous experience working with questions and methods related to plant microbiome diversity, and the ecology and evolution of plant-microbe interactions
  • Analytical knowledge: Expertise in analyzing microbial community data – both bioinformatics and statistical inference - is considered an advantage
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to conceive, execute and complete research projects
  • Ability to think independently and creatively
  • Ability to work in a team and independently

A post-doctoral researcher for a three-year position in soil microbial ecology

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to study how microbial diversity and the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of below-ground plant-microbe interactions are altered following disturbance in wild plant communities. We are also interested in how altered plant-microbe associations translate to soil ecosystem processes such as decomposition, microbial community growth and carbon use efficiency. The planned work consists of survey and sampling of natural plant-microbe communities with known history of change, utilizing sequencing approached to characterize microbial communities, and field transplant as well as controlled experiments to identify key drivers of plant-microbe interactions at the community level under different disturbance scenarios. The selected candidate is expected to take part in designing their project and take full responsibility for its’ implementation from data collection to presentation of results in both scientific journals and conferences. Opportunities for professional development, e.g. in project management, leadership, mentoring, teaching and grant writing, are available and encouraged.

Postdoctoral position requirements:

  • The successful applicant should have a doctoral degree in soil microbial ecology or similar
  • Previous experience working with questions and methods related to microbial diversity and soil ecosystem processes
  • Analytical knowledge: Expertise in analyzing microbial community data – both bioinformatics and statistical inference - is considered an advantage
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to conceive, execute and complete research projects
  • Ability to think independently and creatively
  • Ability to work in a team and independently

A post-doctoral researcher for a three-year position in ecological statistics

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to study how microbial diversity and the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of plant-microbe interactions are altered following disturbance in wild plants communities. We will use a complementary analytical toolbox to identify how sensitive contemporary plant and microbial community structure and species interactions are to past biodiversity changes and environmental change. Relevant analytical approaches may include, but are not restricted to, Joint Species Distribution Model approaches (.g. HMSC; Sallinen et al. 2020), Random Markov Fields models (Norberg et al. 2023), and network analyses. The Ecological Memory framework can be used to quantify how much past plant biodiversity and environmental conditions affect contemporary plant-microbe associations and ecosystem functioning. Opportunities for professional development, e.g. in project management, leadership, mentoring, teaching and grant writing, are available and encouraged.

Postdoctoral position requirements:

  • The successful applicant should have a doctoral degree in statistics, ecology or similar
  • Previous experience working with questions and methods as described above
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to conceive, execute and complete research projects
  • Ability to think independently and creatively
  • Ability to work in a team and independently

SALARY AND HOW TO APPLY FOR THE POSITIONS

The salary of the successful candidate will be based on level 5 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary will be ca 3400-3800 €/month. eurs/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

The application should include the following documents as a single pdf file. Please name the pdf with the field of the position you are applying to or prioritizing in your application:

  • motivational letter outlining why you are the right person for this task (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • list of publications

Include also contact information of two persons who are willing to provide a reference letter by separate request. Please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for the position. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application by using the employee login.

The deadline for submitting the application is 4 December 2023.

Starting date February 2024 but to be determined by mutual agreement.

For more information, please contact Prof. Anna-Liisa Laine (anna-liisa.laine(at)helsinki.fi). For more information on the research group of Prof. Laine, please visit our website https://lainelab.net/.

If you need support with the recruitment system, please contact HR Coordinator Harri Hamara (harri.hamara(at)helsinki.fi).

ABOUT THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT

The University of Helsinki, founded in 1640, is one of the world’s leading universities for multidisciplinary research. The university has an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland.

The research group of Prof. Anna-Laine is part of the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme (OEB) of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences which comprises roughly 40 research groups which employ 40 principal investigators and 120 researchers. The research programme is situated in the Viikki science park.

Finland is a member of the EU, has high quality free schooling (also in English), very affordable childcare, generous family benefits and healthcare, and was recently ranked as the best country in the world for expat families and in the world’s top ten most livable cities. Helsinki metropolitan area offers diverse free time opportunities from hiking in national parks to a lively cultural scene (https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/).

Some recent publications

  • Norberg, A., Susi, H., Sallinen, S. Baran, P., Clarke, N. J. & Laine, A.-L. (2023) Direct and indirect viral associations predict coexistence in wild plant virus communities. Current Biology, 33(9): 1665-1676.e4. Doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.03.022
  • Halliday, F., Czyżewski, S. &Laine A-L. (2023) Intraspecific trait variation and changing life-history strategies explain host community disease risk along a temperature gradient. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 378: 1873. Doi: 10.1098/rstb.2022.0019
  • Laine, A.-L. (2023) Plant disease risk is modified by multiple global change drivers. Current Biology, 33(11): R574-R583. Doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.03.075
  • Höckerstedt, L., Numminen, E., Ashby, B., Boots, M., Norberg, A. & Laine, A-L. (2022) Spatially structured eco-evolutionary dynamics in a host-pathogen interaction render isolated populations vulnerable to disease. Nature Communications, 13: 6018. Doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33665-3
  • Kaarlejärvi, E., Salemaa, M., Tonteri, T., Merilä, P. & Laine, A.‐L. (2021) Temporal biodiversity change following disturbance varies along an environmental gradient. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 30: 476-489. doi: 10.1111/geb.13233
  • Sallinen, S., Norberg, A., Susi, H. & Laine, A.-L. (2020) Intraspecific host variation plays a key role in virus community assembly. Nature Communications, 11, 5610. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19273-z
  • Halliday, F. W., Rohr, J. R. & Laine, A.-L. (2020) Biodiversity loss underlies the dilution effect of biodiversity. Ecology Letters, 23:1611-1622. doi: 10.1111/ele.13590

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