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Postdoctoral position in Modelling Amphibian Species Invasions

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
28 May 2024
Closing date
27 June 2024 11 more days to apply

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The Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences are looking for:

1 Postdoctoral researcher related to applying landscape models to the evolutionary ecology and invasion trajectory of amphibians

Vacancy number: 14891

Key responsibilities
Are you a curious scientist, wanting to bridge evolutionary ecology questions to environmental science applications? Does combining landscape models with real-world data, and interfacing with policy decision-makers for conservation applications pique your interest? Do you have experience with using environmental DNA (eDNA) or have a desire to learn and apply this approach in aquatic systems to help stem biodiversity loss? If so, the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) at Leiden University is looking for a postdoctoral researcher who has experience and an affinity with applying landscape modelling methods to study questions relating to invasive species (mainly Triturus spp. amphibians but possibly also Salmonid fish), conservation, and evolutionary dynamics. We are particularly interested in candidates familiar with Species Distribution Models (SDMs), evolutionary ecology theory (e.g., speciation, hybridization) and if possible (but not required) environmental DNA (or eDNA).

Specifically, the postdoctoral researcher will look at applying modelling methods to (already collected) genetic data to track and predict hybridization and invasion dynamics. Specifically, we are looking for someone to integrate eDNA data into landscape genetic frameworks to understand genetic connectivity of populations across the composition of the landscape, and how this influences hybridization and invasion potential. The Postdoc will investigate whether landscape features, such as waterbody fragmentation or elevation (e.g. with LiDAR and GIS) promote or hinder invasive species spread and potentially hybridization. For SDMs, the postdoc will be expected to overlay biotic and abiotic covariate data for different species for forecasting distributional trajectories. With these projects, we aim to deliver critical information needed for meaningful conservation recovery strategies.

The postdoctoral research will work closely with PhD candidates collecting genetic data through field work, and will be expected to work in a large research group comprised of 3-4 PhD students and numerous master’s students. These projects are a part of a Nationally funded research program that links many collaborators across two continents (Europe and N. America) and numerous academic institutions, private enterprises, and NGOs, ultimately offering a unique, large, and dynamic research network. Within the network, the candidate will be expected to liaise with others and potentially travel to various countries across Europe and North America.

The postdoctoral research will become a member in the laboratory of Dr. Stewart whose research has been fully funded through the Dutch VIDI program. As such you will work closely alongside a similarly funded PhD candidate and be expected to offer some degree of mentorship. This collaboration may also see the postdoc doing some fieldwork if wished. Funding for this position also offers the postdoctoral researcher the ability to attend multiple national and international conferences. Dr. Stewart is dedicated to an inclusive and open research environment to promote passion, independence, and transferable skills for whatever future career goals the candidate may have. In our research group, we strongly value a collaborative approach. Researchers will enter an environment of weekly informal meetings to promote progress and cohesion within the larger research group, while also engaging with the larger e3DNA working group (e3DNA.com; the Dutch eDNA research hub hosted by Dr. Stewart and Dr. Trimbos at Leiden University) that meets twice a month.

If you are an interdisciplinary thinker with a PhD degree in Evolutionary or Molecular Ecology, Biology, Sustainability, Environmental Science (or a related field), this postdoctoral position might be a great fit for you.

You are expected to:

  • Be a collegial person but have a proactive attitude towards balancing your research endeavors
  • Contribute to a dynamic research group involved in genetic, ecological and evolutionary analysis both within our institute but also with project collaborators in other countries
  • Be comfortable and confident working independently when required
  • Be comfortable supervising BSc or MSc students for thesis projects
  • Contribute to a mentorship role for PhD candidates
  • Attend national and international conferences
  • Work with supervisors outlining research methodologies and proposals
  • Stimulate students’ collaborative and pro-active attitudes

Selection criteria:
The preferred candidate

  • Has at least a PhD degree, ideally in Evolutionary or Molecular Ecology, Biology, Sustainability, Environmental Science or a related discipline
  • Proven ability to motivate and/or encourage students and to coach them through group work
  • Has excellent organization and communication skills (e.g., as evidenced through publications and presentations at conferences)
  • Demonstrable proactive and flexible attitude
  • Has experience with molecular data and applying landscape modelling frameworks (e.g. SDMs)
  • Particular strengths with Machine Learning or Deep Learning approaches
  • Strong data management, visualization, and scripting skills (e.g. in R, Python, or other) are a prerequisite. Your previous degrees ideally involves landscape modelling related research
  • You are a team player, and can communicate your work to other researchers of various disciplines within and outside of the CML
  • Fluent in English, verbally and in writing

Research at our Institute/Faculty
Leiden University is situated between Amsterdam (36km) and Den Haag (15 km) and was founded in 1575, making it the oldest university in the Netherlands. It houses around 35,000 students originating from 112 nationalities, facilitated by approximately 8,000 staff. The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The environmental science research in CML is organized around two major research areas: ‘Industrial Ecology’ and ‘Environmental Biology’. This makes CML one of the few institutes covering both the circular, sustainable economic use of natural resources and natural capital, as well as assessing the environmental impacts of economic activities on natural resources, biodiversity and natural capital. Presently, over 140 FTE (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML collaborates with the TU Delft and Erasmus University (Rotterdam) in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability (LDE-CfS).

Terms and conditions
At Leiden University, a postdoctoral research is seen as an employee rather than a student. As such, we offer a 1-year position with the possibility of extension to 3 years based on performance and following the pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Salary ranges from € 3.226,00 and € 5.090,00 gross per month based on a full-time position. Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses, we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break (“30% rule”).

At the Faculty of Science we value inclusiveness and strive for a diverse community with equal opportunities for all. We give full support to our staff in achieving their potential to become independent academic researchers and teachers. For more information about our policy on diversity and equality please go to the diversity page on our website. Female researchers are also welcomed to join the Researchers In Science for Equality network of the Faculty if Science (rise.nu).

Enquiries can be made to k.a.stewart@cml.leidenuniv.nl, or sollicitaties@cml.leidenuniv.nl for general questions.

Please submit your application via the online recruitment system, via the blue button at the top or bottom of this page. Applications received via e-mail will not be taken into consideration. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number.

  • CV – highlighting any research and teaching or mentoring related experiences.
  • A publication list.
  • A cover/motivation letter.
  • The names and contact information of two referees.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis based on matches with specific projects. However, no applications will be considered beyond 27th of June.

Apply now

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