PhD Role of Fire Feedbacks in Spatial Resilience of Forest-Savanna Boundaries

PhD Role of Fire Feedbacks in Spatial Resilience of Forest-Savanna Boundaries

Published Deadline Location
31 Jan 20 Mar Utrecht
We are looking for a PhD candidate to reserach the role of fire feedbacks in spatial resilience of forest-savanna boundaries. Are you interested? Please apply!

Job description

There is an urgent need to understand the effects that global change can have on the Earth, its system components and ecosystems. One area of critical concern is the imminent abrupt and irreversible critical transitions of ecosystems through tipping points. Recent discoveries indicate that such tipping could be evaded and even reversed in ecosystems through spatial pattern formation, thereby creating pathways of resilience.

Your job
For our ERC-Synergy project Pathways of resilience and evasion of tipping in ecosystems (RESILIENCE) we are offering a PhD position for a self-motivated candidate with a strong interest in the role of fire-feedbacks in tipping points, especially in forest-savanna boundary areas.

The aim of RESILIENCE is to fundamentally advance our understanding and predictions of tipping points and critical transitions in ecosystems and reveal how these can be evaded and even reversed through spatial pattern formation. RESILIENCE will develop a new theory for emerging resilience through spatial pattern formation and link this with real tipping-prone biomes undergoing accelerating global change: savanna and tundra. The candidate will benefit from the expertise of the four Principal Investigators (PIs) in the RESILIENCE project: Max Rietkerk, an ecologist at Utrecht University, Arjen Doelman, a mathematician at Leiden University, Ehud Meron, a physicist at Ben-Gurion University, and Isla Meyers-Smith, an ecologist at the University of British Columbia.

In this PhD project The Role of Fire Feedbacks in Spatial Resilience of Forest-Savanna Boundaries at Utrecht University, you will study forest-savanna boundaries and develop spatial ecosystem models, revealing how spatial patterns of fuel connectivity affect (the evasion of) forest-savanna tipping points. For this project, satellite images from Africa and South America could be used, relating static and moving forest-savanna boundaries to fire. This will increase our understanding of forest-savanna resilience and will be used to predict the movement of forest-savanna boundaries with global change. We follow a joint modelling and validation approach, in collaboration with other PhD candidates, postdocs and senior researchers from the different involved universities.

Specifications

Utrecht University

Requirements

We are looking for a PhD candidate with:
  • a relevant Master's degree and a strong scientific background in the field of environmental sciences, ecology, physics or mathematics, preferably spanning two of these disciplines;
  • excellent English language skills;
  • experience in programming (e.g. Matlab, Python);
  • experience and interest in spatial data analysis.

The project is interdisciplinary and affinity with or interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment is important.

Conditions of employment

  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment;
  • a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU);
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

Employer

Universiteit Utrecht

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 strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Shaping science, sharing tomorrow.

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 position is embedded at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, in the Environmental Sciences group. The Copernicus Institute is the scientific institute for sustainability research and teaching of Utrecht University. The mission of the Environmental Sciences group is to understand the interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and global environmental change.

Additional information

For more information, please contact Professor Max Rietkerk (Professor Spatial Ecology and Global Change) via m.g.rietkerk@uu.nl or Dr Arie Staal (Assistant Professor Ecosystem resilience) via a.staal@uu.nl.

There are multiple PhD and Postdoc vacancies within the RESILIENCE project. Take a look at our overview of vacancies for more information. It is possible to apply for more than one position at the same time.

Specifications

  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3556

Employer

Location

Princetonlaan 8a, 3584CB, Utrecht

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Application procedure

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.

Application procedure

Application procedure

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.

Make sure to apply no later than 20 Mar 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).