Postdoc position: Dynamics of fronts and coexistence states (1.0 FTE)


Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Job description

Ecosystems are highly nonlinear systems characterized by a multiplicity of stable states, but seldom have the time to converge to these states. Their dynamics are rather affected by unpredictable natural drivers and human intervention to meet various functionalneeds. Multistability in variable environments is of deep concern because of the possible occurrence of state transitions involvingabrupt declines in ecosystem function as tipping points are traversed, or gradual declines by front propagation. For our ERC-Synergy project Pathways of resilience and evasion of tipping in ecosystems (RESILIENCE), we offer a Postdoc position at Ben-Gurion University to study the dynamics of fronts and the possible roles of front instabilities in reversing degradation processes, such as desertification and species invasion in resource-limited ecosystems.

RESILIENCE aims 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. 

We are looking for a self-motivated candidate with a solid mathematical background, interests in pattern formation and ecology, and excellent English language skills. The successful candidate is expected to: (1) be involved in the development of spatial vegetation models that capture relevant plant-resource and plant-soil feedbacks, (2) study the models using mathematical analysis, numerical simulations, and numerical continuation in one and two spatial dimensions, (3) confront model predictions with available empirical data. The candidate will benefit from the expertise of the four Principal Investigators (PIs) in the RESILIENCE project: Ehud Meron, a physicist at Ben-Gurion University, Arjen Doelman, a mathematician at Leiden University, Max Rietkerk, an ecologist at Utrecht University, and Isla Meyers-Smith, an ecologist at the University of Edinburgh/University of British Columbia.


The candidate should have a Ph.D. in physics, mathematics, or engineering sciences. Acquaintance with nonlinear dynamics, pattern formation, and ecology, and experience in modeling and numerical computations are advantageous. The project is interdisciplinary and affinity with or interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment is important.


The successful candidate will be offered a postdoctoral fellowship (1.0 FTE) to work with prof. Ehud Meron in the Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research (SIDEER) of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), located in the Sede Boqer campus of Ben-Gurion University. The offer is for one year, extendable to a second and a third year upon successful assessments in the previous year. The monthly fellowship will be approximately 11,000 NIS. The offer includes a low-rate residence, most likely in the university dorms. 

About the organization

The SIDEER is an interdisciplinary research institute consisting of physicists, applied mathematicians, ecologists, and environmental scientists, covering in their research major aspects of dryland ecosystems. It is one of three institutes that comprise the BIDR, with the other two offering complementary expertise in water research, agriculture, and dryland biotechnologies. The BIDR is located in the Sede-Boqer Campus, about 60km south of the main campus of BGU in the city of Beer-Sheva. The Sede Boqer campus is an intimate place with a spectacular and inspiring desert landscape and an international atmosphere, thanks to the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies it hosts.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact prof. Ehud Meron, via


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

TTo apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘APPLY‘ button. NOTE: Direct applications via email are not appreciated.

The application deadline is 20th of March, 2024. The application procedure is organised via Utrecht University as project coordinator.