Utrecht University

Are you self-motivated, with a strong scientific background in the field of mathematics, ecology, environmental sciences or physics, preferably spanning two of the disciplines, and with excellent English language skills? And looking for a PhD position?

For our ERC-Synergy project Pathways of resilience and evasion of tipping in ecosystems (RESILIENCE) we are offering a PhD position at the University of Utrecht.

In this PhD project Unified spatial ecosystem models – the ecological angle at Utrecht University, you will develop spatial ecosystem models addressing the following questions: Under which conditions and at what spatial scales do sharp or gradual spatial boundaries exist between tropical forests, savanna, savanna woodlands, and grasslands? And how is this for spatial boundaries between boreal forests, open tundra and tundra shrubland? How are those boundaries moving with respect to climate, herbivory and fire? Under which conditions do spatial patterns occur and through what ecological mechanisms? How does spatial patterning interact with fire behavior and ecosystem resilience? This will be done by a combination of simulations, mathematical bifurcation analyses and numerical continuation in one and two spatial dimensions, through a joint modelling approach, in collaboration with other PhD’s, postdocs and senior researchers from the different involved universities and especially in direct interaction with those involved in the closely related twin project Unified spatial ecosystem models – the mathematical angle.

If you are our ideal candidate, you have a background and proven interest in mathematics, physics, environmental sciences or ecology, preferably spanning two of those disciplines, programming skills (e.g. Matlab, Python) and a relevant Master’s degree. The project is interdisciplinary, excellent English language skills are required, and affinity with or interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment is important.

Interested in what we offer in detail? Please click the button!