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Two Post-docs in Arctic Microbial Ecology
Uppsala, Sweden
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Postdoctoral Researcher

Two postdocs in arctic microbial ecology

Department of Forest mycology and plant pathology

Two post-doc positions in Microbial Ecology are available at the Department of forest mycology and plant pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The department provides a dynamic and international research environment comprising experts who conduct fundamental and applied research on plant-microbe interactions, mycology, microbial ecology and evolution, as well as biodiversity. Central themes are forest and plant pathology, and nutrient and carbon cycling in agricultural and forest ecosystems.  We have a modern and well-equipped molecular and biochemical laboratory. Both post-doc positions are placed in the Soil Microbiology group focused on the roles of microorganisms in soil nitrogen and carbon cycling and their effects on ecosystem processes.

The positions are part of a large interdisciplinary project funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and running 2021-2026 ( The project aims to understand and quantify how processes during the arctic winter may be decisive for overall feedbacks from arctic tundra to the global climate. Year-round carbon and nitrogen balances depend on the seasonality of the activities of plant and microbial communities, and their synchronization. Changing winter condition may cause asynchronies of these processes, leading to increased carbon and nitrogen losses and positive climate feedbacks. This project will advance basic knowledge of synchronies in plant and microbial activities during the cold season. The project will further assess the environmental drivers and community traits that may be used to up-scale and predict effects of asynchronies on year-round carbon and nitrogen balances of tundra.

To do this, plant and microbial ecologists work together with specialists in up-scaling based on drone technology and satellite imaging. The project will benefit from ongoing collaborations between plant ecologists (University of Umeå) and fungal and microbial ecologists (SLU, Uppsala). The project will involve a research team of about 11 senior and postdoctoral scientists, 4 PhD students and 2 technical staff. Most of the experimental work will be based around Abisko Scientific Research Station in northern Sweden.

We are recruiting two postdoctoral colleagues for the microbial ecology aspects of the project. The holder of position 1 will focus on bacterial and archaeal ecology during the winter, more specifically the temporal dynamics of their functional roles, including the functional communities involved in nitrogen cycling. The holder of position 2 will focus on fungal ecology, particularly how different mycorrhizal communities may play contrasting roles during the winter and across vegetation mosaics.


The work will involve designing, planning and carrying out experimental work towards the project aims in collaboration with the project team. The work will combine mesocosm experiments for mechanistic studies with sampling along natural vegetations gradients at various spatial and temporal scales with the aim of up-scaling relevant microbial functions. The analytical work involves quantification and sequencing of taxonomic and functional marker genes combined with bioinformatic and biostatistical analyses. Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics will also be  important elements of the work. We expect you to participate in development of the project and planning of the studies, to carry out the practical work and analyses and to write scientific publications in collaboration with the project group. The work requires some travelling and stays at Abisko Scientific Research Station, Northern Sweden.


The applicant should hold a PhD degree in biology or microbiology. The applicant should have documented knowledge and experience within microbial ecology or arctic ecosystem ecology. Knowledge and previous experience of scientific work with soil processes, isotopic labelling techniques, molecular community analysis, bioinformatics and biostatistics are strong merits. Earlier experience with field work under arctic conditions and possession of a driver’s licence will further count as merits. The working language is English and excellent written and spoken communication in English is a requirement. We are looking for a highly motivated, flexible, open-minded, and team-oriented candidate, who will contribute positively to the development of the research environment, and who has shown good abilities for independent scientific work. A postdoctoral position is a qualifying appointment for junior researchers, intended primarily for those who have obtained a doctorate degree within the past three years.

Place of work: Uppsala

Form of employment: Temporary employment for 2 years, with a possibility for 1 year prolongation.

Extent: 100%

Starting date: January 2022, or by agreement


We welcome your application submitted via the button, no later than 2021-10-15.

Specific documents attached: CV including a list of publications, PhD degree certificate, a description of past research, and current research interests (max 2 pages). Please indicate which position you are interested in and areas of research you want to develop further within this position (max 1 page). Contact details (name, relation to candidate, e-mail address and telephone number) of two reference persons familiar with your earlier scientific work is also required.

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact person

Sara Hallin


+46 18 67 3209

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Karina Clemmensen

Seniour Lecturer

+46 18 67 1874

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