Postdoc Protecting plant diversity via stoichiometric nutrient networks across Europe (1.0 FTE)

Postdoc Protecting plant diversity via stoichiometric nutrient networks across Europe (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
3 Nov 11 Dec Utrecht

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Do you have experience with ecological field work and experiments? Then you should check our project ‘Protecting plant diversity via stoichiometric nutrient'.

Job description

At the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, we are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious postdoc that will work in the EU Biodiversa2021 funded project ‘Protecting plant diversity via stoichiometric nutrient networks across Europe‘.

You will work with three other postdocs in a consortium with Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), the Italian National Research Council (NRC, Turin) and University of Alicante (UA, Spain) and other universities and stakeholders.

We aim to identify which European herbaceous plant communities are most vulnerable to species loss and species turnover in response to changes in nutrient supply, nutrient stoichiometry, species invasions and climate change. The project builds on an existing large scale European dataset of nutrient concentrations and plant community composition, which will be expanded to fill in geographical and ecosystem gaps. We will combine three cross-feeding research approaches: synthetic analyses of large field observation datasets and trait data, manipulative field experiments, and modelling of novel species assemblies under scenarios of environmental change.

The project is led by Utrecht University. The UU postdoc will extend the database by additional field work across Europe; provide European distribution patterns of nutrient stoichiometry, nutrient loads, species and communities based on the extended database and available open sources; use the extended database to identify nutrient- and other environmental niches for plant species; use the species niches to assess the vulnerability of endemic and threatened species to changes in nutrient availability.

The postdocs at VUB and UA will experimentally investigate novel species interactions in relation to nutrient stoichiometry and drought and the postdoc at NRC will model large scale diversity patterns as influenced by climate change and species invasions. UA will take the lead in engaging nature managers and delivering management and planning recommendations to conservation practitioners and environmental policy makers.


Utrecht University


The ideal candidate has:
  • a PhD in environmental biology or ecology (e.g. plant ecology, biogeography); 
  • experience with ecological field work and experiments;
  • good taxonomic knowledge of the European flora;
  • good knowledge of soil science and biogeochemistry;
  • experience with analyzing large plant trait databases; 
  • good writing skills, evidenced by a record of relevant international peer-reviewed publications;
  • can demonstrate English language proficiency at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid).

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary full-time postdoctoral position for a period of 3 years. The minimum gross salary is €2,960 and the maximum gross salary is €4,670 (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment. Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 %.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamic of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a historic centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its centuries-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands, and is well-connected to local and international transport hubs.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1199715



Heidelberglaan 8, 3584CS, Utrecht

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