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Two PhD positions in arctic plant volatiles

Two PhD positions are available at the Terrestrial Ecology Section, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen starting in April 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  
 
Project  
The three-year-long positions are open in an ERC consolidator project assessing biotic and abiotic controls of biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions from arctic and alpine tundra. The project aims to improve tundra BVOC emission estimates so that we can account for the impacts of the ongoing climate warming accompanied by effects of vegetation change, permafrost thaw, insect outbreaks and herbivory. The project uses multidisciplinary methodology including controlled laboratory experiments using state-of-the-art techniques, such as isotope labelling, field manipulation experiments, environmental gradients as well as ecosystem modelling. BVOCs will be measured using proton transfer reaction-time of flight-mass spectrometry (PTR-TOF-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Both positions are based in Copenhagen with periods of field work in Northern Scandinavia and Greenland during summer.  
 
Position 1 will work with the release of volatiles by deciduous and evergreen tundra shrubs and the impact of leaf and plant surface temperatures on this release. The aim is to obtain an improved quantification of relationships among canopy temperature, plant phenology, species characteristics and BVOC emission under varying environmental conditions. The work includes field measurements and modelling work.  
 
Position 2 will focus on the effects of insect herbivory and warming on BVOC emissions from arctic willows and birch. The aim is to assess the quantity and composition of volatiles induced by insect feeding and to compare the temperature sensitivities of constitutive and induced volatiles. The work includes field measurements as well as laboratory experiments under controlled conditions.  
 
The successful candidates will work in the Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions research group led by Riikka Rinnan and are accompanied with 5-10 other research staff members plus a number of students. The group has a full time lab technician, state-of-the-art facilities and substantial experience in conducting field measurements in the high latitudes. The candidates will be affiliated both to the Department of Biology and to the Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), both at University of Copenhagen. CENPERM is a center of excellence, which integrates multidisciplinary research of biogeochemical and physical processes in a “climate-vegetation-soil-microorganism-permafrost” approach, in transects across the major climate zones of Greenland.  
 
Qualifications  
We are looking for enthusiastic and ambitious candidates with a MSc in biology, environmental science or a related field (the degree obtained latest by March 31, 2018). Further mandatory requirements include demonstrated fluency in written and spoken English. Candidates for both positions need to be able and willing to work under extended periods in remote locations (e.g. Greenland). For Position 1, experience in plant ecophysiology is an advantage. For Position 2, experience in plant-insect interactions or entomology is an asset. For both positions, experience in arctic field work and gas exchange measurements of biogenic volatiles or greenhouse gases are beneficial. The positions are open to both Danish and international applicants.  
 
Application  
The application must contain:  
• A letter of motivation for the application with statement of research interests and indication of the preferred position  
• A curriculum vitae (max 2 pages)  
• List of publications (if applicable)  
• Copy of Bachelor and Masters Diplomas and transcripts - other relevant certificates, including grades  
• A short abstract of the M.Sc. thesis  
• Contact details of at least two persons for references  
 
Procedures and shortlisting  
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.  
The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.  
 
Terms of employment  
The positions are 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 at a minimum DKK 317.448 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 43.848). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.  
 
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.  
 
Application Procedure  
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.  
 
The deadline for applications is 15 February, 2018, 23:59 GMT+1  
 
For further information please contact Professor Riikka Rinnan, riikkar@bio.ku.dk.  
 
 


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