Postdoc in Terrestrial Ecology, Department of Biology

Københavns Universitet (KU)

Ph.d. & forskning

A 1.5-year postdoc position in Terrestrial Ecology with a focus on moss-cyanobacteria associations is available at the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, commencing 01.12.2019 or shortly thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The successful applicant will be based at the Terrestrial Ecology Section, thereby joining a lively research environment covering a wide range of topics such as plant ecophysiology, biogeochemistry, soil biology and ecosystem-atmosphere interactions. Our section is a diverse group comprising research and teaching staff members, laboratory technicians, PhD candidates and MSc and BSc students, focussing on many aspects of plant and microbial activity, soil nutrient cycling and global change. The successful candidate will be hosted by Assistant Professor Kathrin Rousk and will join the newly established Ecosystem Ecology group focussing on moss-cyanobacteria associations in pristine ecosystems. Professor Anders Priemé, Section of Microbiology, will co-host the successful applicant.

Overall description of the project
The postdoctoral position is part of a 4-year research project financed by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, Sapere Aude Starting Grant, led by Kathrin Rousk.

The aim of the project is to identify the abiotic (moisture and temperature) and biotic controls of moss-associated nitrogen fixation in samples collected from ecosystems with contrasting climates. The project involves fieldwork campaigns in boreal forests (Northern Sweden) and tropical cloud forests (South America) as well as laboratory approaches (e.g. nitrogen fixation assays, transcriptomics). For this 1.5-year postdoctoral project, the main goal is to place moss-cyanobacteria associations along the parasitism-mutualism continuum. This will be achieved by sequencing the transcriptome of the partners (moss and cyanobacteria) when they grow in unison vs. when they grow individually. The transcripts will be compared to transcripts from well-known symbiotic associations (e.g. legume-rhizobia) alongside measurements of growth and nitrogen fixation to ascertain the degree of mutualism or parasitism in this association.

Main tasks and responsibilities
Planning experiments, growing and culturing of mosses and cyanobacteria, RNA isolation from mosses and cyanobacteria, N2 fixation measurements, data analyses, data interpretation, and manuscript writing.

We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious candidate with a PhD degree in Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Environmental Genomics, or similar fields. Fluency in written and spoken English is a requirement, as well as excellent writing skills demonstrated by the publication record, as well as good communication skills. Candidates with skills and expertise listed below will be preferred.

Planning experimental setups, DNA and RNA isolation, preparation of RNA for cDNA sequencing, analysis of transcriptomic data, data analysis using R and Python, multivariate statistics, project coordination, plant and/or bacterial cultivation and growth.

For further information about the position, please contact Kathrin Rousk (

Further information on the Department can be found here:

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently up to DKK 430,570 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 73,627). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover letter describing motivation and project related research experience
  • Curriculum vita
  • Complete publication list
  • Separate reprints of 2 relevant papers
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Full contact details (name, address, telephone & email) of 3 professional referees

The deadline for applications is 15.10.2019, 23:59 GMT +2.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at

Københavns Universitet giver sine knap 10.000 medarbejdere muligheder for at udnytte deres talent fuldt ud i et ambitiøst, uformelt miljø. Vi sikrer traditionsrige og moderne rammer om uddannelser og fri forskning på højt internationalt niveau. Vi søger svar og løsninger på fælles problemer og gør ny viden tilgængelig og nyttig for andre.

Ansøgningsfrist: 15-10-2019

Ansættelsesdato: 01-12-2019

Arbejdstid: Fuldtid

Afdeling/Sted: Department of Biology

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