Post-doc: Mycorrhizal fungi and vegetation regime shifts, Sweden

A post-doc position in Microbial Ecology is available at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology part of Uppsala BioCenter and the Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).  The post-doc position will be part of the Soil Microbiology group focusing on understanding the role of various microorganism groups in soil nitrogen and carbon cycling and the effects on ecosystem level processes.

The project will focus on the role of mycorrhizal types and communities, and their interactions with other biota, for vegetation regime shifts. Recent evidence pinpoints mycorrhizal fungi as key mediators of both soil carbon sequestration and loss, and tipping points in vegetation regimes and soil carbon stocks may be related to the ecological strategies of mycorrhizal fungi. One study system will be historically reindeer-grazed areas (milking grounds) contra un-grazed areas in the subarctic-alpine Scandinavian mountains. These represent transitions between grassland and heathland with completely different dominating mycorrhizal types. Another part of the project will focus on how different management practices recruit microbial communities with different functional traits from natural counterpart systems, and how this may affect ecosystem level processes. The project will benefit from ongoing collaborations with plant ecologists (University of Umeå) and microbial ecologists (SLU, Uppsala).


The holder of this post-doc position will analyse fungal and bacterial communities in soil samples based on sequencing of molecular markers, combined with bioinformatic analyses. Fungal and bacterial biomass will be evaluated by biochemical markers, and activities of enzymes involved in organic matter and nitrogen transformations will be estimated using molecular probes. Abundance of functional genes will be assessed by quantitative PCR, and data analysed by multivariate statistics. A set of samples will be available at project start, but further field and experimental work can be part of the project.


  • The applicant should hold a PhD degree in biology.
  • Knowledge of microbial ecology, ecosystem ecology and soil processes, and previous experience of working with next generation sequencing techniques, microbial community analysis and biostatistics will count as merits.
  • The applicant is highly motivated and team-oriented with documented experience of independent scientific work.
  • A postdoctoral position is a qualifying appointment for junior researchers, intended primarily for those who have obtained a doctorate degree within the past three years.
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