Postdoctoral Fellow in Evolutionary Ecology – Life History Evolution across Climate Clines

Ref. No. SU FV-0224-19ShareShare

at the Department of Zoology. Closing date: 28 February 2019.

The Department of Zoology is a vibrant international community, consisting of five divisions: Ecology, Ethology, Functional Morphology, Population Genetics, and Systematics and Evolution. The department has a long tradition of strong interactions and collaborations between the five divisions.

Project description
We are inviting applications for a 2-year post-doctoral position in Karl Gotthard’s lab that is focusing on the evolution of life history and plasticity in seasonal environments, using primarily natural populations of butterflies as model organisms. The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).

The post-doc will work within the project Life history evolution across climate clines and focus on the evolution of life cycle timing in situations where insect species show shifts in the number of annual generations, i.e. when there are shifts in voltinism. As model systems we are using several species of butterflies where the phenotypic mechanism of life cycle regulation in response to photoperiod and temperature is well understood, and where we have genomic resources to explore the genetic basis for these adaptations. We are also exploring life cycle adaptations and potential voltinism shifts in the expanding range margins of butterfly species that are presently expanding their distributions northwards. At the northern range limits these expanding species are expected to experience strong selection for changes in how photoperiod regulates life cycle timing and voltinism. These projects will provide novel insights into ecological consequences of the interaction between the two most prominent effects of climate change on natural populations: northward range expansions and selection for changes in seasonal life cycle regulation.

The project will involve both field and laboratory work to study the ecology, genetics and physiology in natural population of temperate butterflies. The post-doc will sample replicated populations and do controlled laboratory studies of the phenotypic adaptations and associated genetic variation that underlie seasonal life cycle timing. The genetics will be studied by quantitative genetic methods and with a combination of populations crosses and genomics. Physiological manifestations of the different timing adaptations will be investigated using respirometry. An important part of the project is also to set up reciprocal transplant experiments in outdoor cages to test the adaptive significance of local difference in these adaptations.

Research group
Karl Gotthard’s research group is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University, and presently it consists of three PhD students. We collaborate closely with the group of Dr. Philipp Lehmann that includes two additional PhD students. We are also collaborating with Dr. Chris Wheat and his group at the Division of Population Genetics at the Department of Zoology. The new post-doc will be expected to take part in these collaborations.

Main responsibilities
The post-doc will participate in the ongoing projects and there are several potential directions for the main project of the new post-doc. Depending on the interests and qualifications of the successful candidate the exact focus of this project will be a matter of discussion. The post-doc will be highly encouraged to develop his/her own ideas within the research field.

Qualification requirements
Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country. 

Assessment criteria
The degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research and communication skills.

We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a relevant PhD and a strong background in evolutionary ecology, plasticity, life history theory, and/or ecological genetics. The suitable candidate should have a proven record of successful publishing in general ecological and evolutionary journals, excellent analytical skills, and experience with quantitative analyses of life history traits (or other traits of interest). In addition, we expect the candidate to be able to work independently, but also to develop, and contribute to, collaborations within and outside of the research group. A strong background in statistical analysis, experience in working with insects in the lab and in the field, as well as having a valid driving license, are all especially meriting.

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their past publication history, documented skills, references, relevant experience, interviews, and the candidate’s written motivation for seeking the position 

Terms of employment
The position involves full-time employment for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances. Start date as per agreement.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Further information about the position can be obtained from the project leader Dr. Karl Gotthard, telephone: +46 8 16 40 48,

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 40 17,, and (SEKO).

Apply for the position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter – specifying your motivation for applying and general research interests
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University – our education and research produce results.

Closing date: 28/02/2019

Read the job description at the university homepage


Post expires on Thursday February 28th, 2019