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
), Utrecht University offers a PhD position for a self-motivated candidate with a strong interest in tipping points, especially in the savanna.
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 Spatial data of savanna community assembly
at Utrecht University, you will analyse long-term spatial-temporal monitoring data of transects from African forests towards open savannas, made available through existing collaboration networks. You will collect additional vegetation data along stress gradients, for which we will have analysed long-term dynamics and spatial patterns. This is to test the hypothesis that community re-assembly along with spatial pattern formation may contribute to evasion of forest-savanna-woodland tipping. We will use a joint approach, in close collaboration and direct interaction with other PhD candidates, postdocs and (senior) researchers from the different involved universities.