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PhD Research Fellowship in Ecology, University of Oslo, Norway



October 08, 2015


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CEES, Department of Biosciences

PhD Research Fellowship in Ecology

A 3 year position as PhD Research Fellow is available at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

This 3-year PhD position is part of the project SUSTAIN (Sustainable management of renewable resources in a changing environment: an integrated approach across ecosystems), recently funded by the Research Council of Norway (PI: Nils Chr. Stenseth). The candidate will be supervised by Øystein Langangen and/or  Yngvild Vindenes and/or Nils Chr. Stenseth  and/or Ivar Herfindal (NTNU). Part of the project will be carried out at the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.

Tentative starting date: January 2016. 

No one can be appointed for more than one fixed-term period at the same institution.

Job/ project description:

Harvesting is often size-dependent (e.g. in fisheries, and trophy hunting in many ungulates), and since many species show sexual dimorphism in body size this may lead to higher harvesting mortality in one sex than the other. Sex-specific differences in harvesting level may also arise from other mechanisms. For instance, in fisheries harvesting often takes place at the spawning grounds where females and males may arrive at different times. In some cases, harvesting or hunting regulations also directly include sex-specific quotas.  A different harvesting pressure among sexes can affect the population through an altered sex ratio, and potentially also through induced changes in the life history of one or both sexes.

This PhD project will investigate consequences of sex selective harvesting in size- and age-structured populations. One part of the project will be to develop and analyse two-sex demographic models to investigate how harvesting influences key life history characteristics and eco-evolutionary dynamics. The main (but not necessarily only) approach will be integral projection models (IPM), a demographic framework well suited for studying consequences of size-specific harvesting in structured populations. The developed framework will be applied to investigate theoretically the consequences of different harvesting strategies, as well as applied to empirical data from different species across the freshwater, marine and terrestrial domain. Relevant study systems that may be analysed within this project include data for Barents Sea Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), Brown trout (Salmo trutta) from the lake Mjøsa, Norway and moose (Alces alces) in southern Norway.

Host institutions

The PhD project and training will be based at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo. CEES is a centre of excellence for integrative biological research and is well-funded. It provides a stimulating research environment with many young international and Norwegian scientists working on a variety of theoretical and empirical topics within bio-economics, ecology, evolution, population genetics, genomics, phylogenetics, molecular biology, and statistical methodology. The CEES is chaired by Professor Nils Chr. Stenseth and currently employs 16 faculty members, 50 postdocs/researchers, 30 PhD students and 31 MSc students. Information about the centre can be found at:

Part of this PhD project will be carried out at the partner institution of NTNU, at the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD) in Trondheim, and the candidate will be expected to spend some time here to work with this group. This will provide valuable additional experience and training for the candidate, as well as an opportunity to obtain an extended collaborative network. CBD was established as a Centre of Excellence by the Norwegian Research Council in 2014, and its main research activity is population ecology, evolutionary biology and community dynamics with the overall approach to implement stochastic models to describe phenotypic evolution, and dynamics of populations and communities in fluctuating environments. CBD has a close collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), and the PhD candidate will take part in this for instance when working with the moose data.

The candidate is also expected to go abroad and work with an international research partner. 

Requirements and selection criteria:

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition of being a leading research faculty. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

We kindly ask applicants to provide a numbered list in their application letter corresponding to these criteria, explaining whether and how they meet each point:

  1. A Master’s degree or equivalent in ecology or a related field relevant to this PhD project, by the starting date in January 2016.
  2. Academic qualifications (grades and relevant research experience).
  3. A background and/or strong interest in one or more of the following topics: i) statistical modeling and analyses, ii) demographic population models such as matrix models or integral projection models, iii) quantitative population models, and iv) conservation biology and management. Experience within one or more of these topics will be considered an advantage, but applicants are not expected to have a deep knowledge covering all of them.
  4. Personal suitability and motivation for the position.
  5. A good command of the English language.
  6. Good collaboration skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary scientific environment.

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The fellowship requires admission to the research training programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position. For more information see:

A good command of English is required.


Position code 1017, Pay grade: 50 - 57 (NOK 429 700 – 482 800 per year)

The application must  include:

  • Application letter, including a pointwise explanation of how the applicant fits the selection criteria detailed above
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications).
  • Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records and letters of recommendation.
  • Documentation of English proficiency (for applicants from non-EU/EEA countries).
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee.
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number).

Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. Please remember that all documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language.

In accordance with the University of Oslo’s equal opportunities policy, we invite applications from all interested individuals regardless of gender or ethnicity.

UiO has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results a.o.



Job type:Contract

Working hours:Full-time


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