Monday, April 20, 2009

Sweden Jobs: PhD position in ecology

PhD position in Ecology: The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science has about 160 members including 55 PhD researchers and 55 PhD students (for more information see the department’s homepage:

A new project financed by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) in aquatic ecology, entitled: “Eutrophication as a selection factor for the occurrence of predation-resistant and potentially pathogenic bacteria in aquatic environments”.

Project description
Eutrophication is one of the largest threats to aquatic environments, as it causes a number of drastic changes in the system. One example is phytoplankton communities that often become dominated by inedible, filamentous or toxic forms. The underlying mechanism for this may be increased predation on lower trophic levels, selecting for increased occurrence of predation-resistance in nutrient rich environments.
Evolution has taken many solutions for bacterial resistance to protozoan predation. Some examples are increase or decrease in cell size, production of toxins, cell aggregations, biofilm formation, and resistance to degradation within the protozoa. Some predation-resistant bacteria are also resistant to phagocytosis by human macrophages, suggesting that protozoa constitute a biological gym for the occurrence of potentially pathogenic bacteria.

The above theories will be tested within the PhD project. The link between ecosystem drivers, bacterial functional diversity and epidemiological factors will be investigated in aquatic systems. The PhD project will include field experiments as well as selection and microcosm experiments in laboratory. The tularemia-bacterium Francisella tularensis will be used as an example for a predation-resistant and potentially pathogenic bacterium. The project is performed in collaboration with ecologists, microbiologists and medical scientists.

Assoc. Prof. Agneta Andersson, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University will be main supervisor in the project. Prof. Anders Sjöstedt, Department of Clinical Bacteriology, Umeå University, and Assoc. Prof. Mats Forsman, Swedish Defence Research Agency will be associated supervisors.

The application should include a letter of intent, certified curriculum vitae that includes information on previous education, copies of the master’s thesis, publications and other documents supporting your competence and suitability for the position, and address and phone number to two reference persons. The application may be written in English or Swedish.

The recruitment procedure will follow
the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen chapters 5 and 7). Prerequisites include either i) 240 ECTS credits (Swe. högskolepoäng) of higher education studies of which 60 should be on an advanced level (Master level), or ii) 120 Swedish (old) credits (Swe. poäng; corresponding to 180 ECTS credits) of higher education studies if they were taken before July 1, 2007 or equivalent competence. Education should include 120 ECTS credits (2 year) biological subjects, 15 ECTS credits ecology or corresponding subject, and a 30 ECTS credits independent project in ecology or a similar relevant field. It is qualifying to have good knowledge in ecological theory and training in microbial ecology and molecular biology/genetics. The successful applicant should have good ability to write and speak in English, creativity, power of initiative, independence and ability to collaborate. Evaluations will be based on results on University courses, quality of
master’s thesis, references, interviews and the letter of intent.

A PhD education is 4 years (48 months) and the PhD-student will get a formal position at the start of the project (Sw: “doktorandanställning”). Up to 10 % as teaching assistant may be included in the position (then the position will be extended accordingly).

For more information contact Agneta Andersson, +46 90-786 9845,, Homepage:

Union information is available from SACO, +46-(0)90-786 53 65, SEKO civil, +46-(0)90-786 52 96 and ST, +46-(0)90-786 54 31.

Your complete application, marked with reference number 313-364-09, should be sent to the Registrar, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden to arrive May 14, 2009 at the latest.