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Postdoctoral position in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Exchange of VOCs

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A post doc position is available at Terrestrial Ecology Section, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen with a starting date May 1st, 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The initial appointment is for 2 years with a possibility for extension.

Research project
Plants defend themselves against insect herbivory by releasing climate-relevant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the atmosphere. Herbivore damage alters VOC emission blends and increases the emission rates from the affected ecosystem to the atmosphere. The total effect of herbivory on VOC fluxes is likely to be considerable, at least periodically, but still this is not accounted for in the current models. The aim of this project is to assess effects of insect herbivory on VOC emissions in the rapidly warming high latitude regions, where herbivory pressure is increasing with climate change. We will quantify ecosystem-scale VOC emissions of a Subarctic mountain birch forest during several growing seasons, while monitoring insect herbivory intensity and the environmental conditions. We will also use modeling approaches to assess the importance of herbivory for regional VOC emissions as well as their impacts on atmospheric chemistry under different climate scenarios. This will improve our understanding of the plant-stress-related climate feedbacks.

Scientific environment
The position is available in the Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions Research Group, led by Professor Riikka Rinnan. The group consists of 5-10 other research staff members plus a number of students and is physically located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The group uses state-of-the-science techniques, such as proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass-spectrometry (PTR-TOF-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for measurement of VOC emissions from plants, emissions and uptake by soils, and their exchange at the ecosystem scale. The group conducts experiments in the laboratory and in the field, predominantly in the arctic environments. The research project is collaboration with Dr. Thomas Holst, Prof. Lars Eklundh, and Dr. Jing Tang, Lund University, Sweden.

Main tasks and responsibilities
The post doc will participate in conducting Eddy Covariance measurements of VOCs and CO2 in a mountain birch forest in Northern Sweden using the PTR-TOF-MS and a CO2 analyser. The gas flux measurements are coupled to remote sensing of the vegetation phenology using spectral censors and surface temperatures using thermal imaging. The post doc can also participate in branch/stem/forest floor measurements in the forest as well as modeling. The actual tasks will be agreed upon based on the expertise and interests of the applicant.

The successful candidate will be responsible for data collection, processing and interpretation as well as lead-writing scientific publications. The candidate will have the opportunity to supervise MSc students. The candidate should be willing to join for field work in Northern Sweden.

We are looking for ambitious and highly motivated candidates with a PhD in biology/ecology, physical geography, meteorology, chemistry, or a related field. Fluency in written and spoken English is a requirement, as well as excellent writing skills demonstrated by the publication record. A successful candidate also has some experience with quantification of VOCs using GC-MS or PTR-MS techniques or eddy covariance measurements of CO2 or CH4. Skills and interest in instrument handling, programming, and multivariate statistics are assets. The candidate can take decisions independently, but she/he is also comfortable working in teams and has a collaborative mindset. A driver’s license is needed to access the field site.

For enquiries about the position, please contact Professor Riikka Rinnan ([email protected]).

Foreign applicants may find these resources useful: http://www.ism.ku.dk (International Staff Mobility).

How to apply
Applications must be in English, submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below, and include:

•    A cover letter describing motivation, project-related research experience and personal qualities. 
•    Curriculum vitae
•    Complete list of publications
•    Pdf files of the two most important publications
•     Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)

The deadline for applications is 9 February 2022, 23:59 GMT+1.

Terms of employment  
The position is 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. 

Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. 

You can read about the recruitment process at http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.


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