Grad School: PhD position about macroecology of species interactions

PhD position in the project “Macroecology and diversity of species interactions” at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Coevolution among species via species interactions is the major driving force of biodiversity. Yet, the concept of and metrics to estimate species interactions is largely missing from biodiversity studies. The project has two major aims. First, our goal is to create a novel community diversity index, which quantitatively grade communities in terms of the sign, strength and variation of interactions. We will then examine how interaction index varies relative to taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity, stability of the communities and the level of disturbance. Second, we aim to estimate a novel species-specific characteristic, which describes species competitive – facilitative interaction abilities. The association of this new metric with species capability to adapt to global changes is then examined. The data to be used in the project is negotiable; comprehensive and long-term bird survey data from Europe and moth data from Finland are available. We will use a state-of-the-art statistical modelling technique, Joint Dynamic Species Distribution Modelling, developed by one of the PIs of the project, Dr. James Thorson, in extracting species associations from the survey data.

The position is for 4 years. The start date of the position is January 2018, with some flexibility. We aim that the chosen candidate will spend 6-12 months at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) and learn modeling techniques with Dr. Thorson. Funding for the visit will be applied from various sources, such as Fulbright Center. Position involves occasional teaching. The location of the position is at the Research Unit of Ecology and Evolution, University of Oulu, Finland. Salary is based on the University salary system. Starting salary is about 2100-2300€​ and increases with experience. Health care is provided by the employer.

Research Group. Principal Investigators of the project are Dr. Jukka Forsman (University of Oulu, Finland) and Dr. James Thorson (National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Seattle, USA). Other collaborators of the project are Vincent Devictor (University of Montpellier, France), Mikko Mönkkönen (University of Jyväskylä) and Panu Välimäki (University of Oulu, Finland).

Qualification requirements. Applicants must have a Master of Science degree in ecology, evolutionary biology, statistical modeling or related areas. The recruited person is expected to be enterprising and have excellent English communication skills, as well as experience programming in the R statistical environment. Following qualifications and experience is considered as an advantage: managing and analyzing large data sets, species distribution modeling, experience in estimating diversity indexes (taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic), statistical modelling, experience in applying GIS-data on biological systems, and global change studies.

Contact persons for further information. Project leaders Jukka Forsman, email: jukka.forsman (at), tel.: +358 2494 481951 and Dr. James Thorson, email: James.T.Thorson(at)

Please send applications through university recruitment system:

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