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Postdoc position on Integrating dynamic energy-budget (DEB) and individual-based modeling (IBM) to assess the impact of climate change on Muskox population dynamics 927148

Title: Integrating dynamic energy-budget (DEB) and individual-based models (IBM) to assess the impact of climate change on Muskox population dynamics

Research Area and Project Description: Many fundamental challenges in ecology require an understanding about the impact of environmental change on animal population dynamics. Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory was designed to study the dynamics of populations via a mass-energy balance approach of individuals. Because DEB models focus on individuals, tools are needed to extrapolate results to the population level. Particular useful for this purpose are agent- or individual-based models (IBMs). In individual-based ecology the processes and relationships that influence dynamics of populations emerge through the interactions of moving agents with each other and their environment. Combining DEB with IBM thus provides a powerful mechanistic approach to study the impact of environmental change on animal population dynamics.

The postdoc project will focus on the development of a DEB-IBM model for Muskoxen in east Greenland with the overall objective to study the impact of climate change on population dynamics. Muskoxen are particularly interesting in this context as they are adapted to a cold and dry climate, while the Arctic tundra that they inhabit will be be impacted by climate change more than any other terrestrial biome. Climate change will affect the biotic and/or abiotic conditions of the Arctic environment (e.g. vegetation, temperature, precipitation), which may lead to constraints on energy acquisition (e.g. reduced foraging success) and energy expenditure (e.g. increased movement costs), thereby altering the energy budget of individuals and subsequently the demographics of populations. The postdoc is free to contribute his/her own ideas and concepts to the project but is expected to lead at least two high-quality papers in the main research topic. In addition the candidate is expected to collaborate with other team members, including students, sharing skills, and helping solve problems in her/his area of expertise. This is a full-time (37 h/week), fully funded position for a fixed term of 1.5 years but may be extended subject to budget acquisition and review of progress.

Qualifications and Specific Competences: Applicants must have PhD degree in ecology, or equivalent, or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. Experience with dynamic energy budget and/or individual-based modeling is a requirement (using e.g. NetLogo or Repast), and some background in behavioral ecology is an advantage. Strong skills in statistical and ecological modeling are critical, hereunder solid experience with R. The candidate is also expected to have good collaborative skills and proven abilities to publish at a high international level. International applicants who do not have English as their first language must prove strong English language writing skills and fluency.

Supervisors and collaborators: Supervisory and modeling support will be based at Aarhus University (Drs Floris M. van Beest & Niels Martin Schmidt), with additional supervision and training provided through collaboration with the University of Toronto (Dr. Peter K. Molnár).

Place of Employment and Work: The postdoc will be part of the Section of Arctic Ecosystem Ecology within the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark. The postdoc is encouraged to collaborate within the section, across sections and departments and with other universities. More information about the people and research activities of the Department can be found at

Starting date: January 8th 2018 (somewhat flexible).

Contact information: Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Dr. Floris M. van Beest ( or Dr. Niels Martin Schmidt (

Application procedure
Short-listing is used. This means that after the deadline for applications and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants, including the main considerations emphasized during the selection process.

Formalities and salary range

Science and Technology refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities. Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

Aarhus University offers Relocation service to International researchers. You can read more about it here.


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