Lund University, Department of Physical Geograhy and Ecosystem Science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Introduction text:

Supervisor: Daniel Metcalfe (

To accurately predict changes in forest structure and function under future climate change, which is critical for designing effective government climate policy, it is first necessary to understand the factors that regulate forest nutrient availability. While some sources of nutrients are widely recognized, other sources, such as deposits from herbivores, and invertebrate herbivores in particular, are much more poorly understood. Herbivores potentially interfere with plant nutrient conservation strategies to alter the amount and types of organic matter reaching the soil through a wide range of processes, with potentially large but poorly understood implications on forest structure and functioning. A considerable body of research has accumulated about invertebrate herbivory. However, most studies to date have tended to focus on the details – what, when and why herbivores were active and how plants responded. While this information is interesting and important, it largely misses the bigger picture of the amounts of nutrients extracted from plants by herbivores and released to the soil and how this compares with other major nutrient sources.

To fill this knowledge gap, this PhD project will establish a network of herbivory monitoring sites across forests worldwide, to record how and why nutrient fluxes from invertebrate herbivory vary among contrasting vegetation and invertebrate communities.


The proposed work will involve regular measurements of invertebrate herbivory, and other environmental variables, at ~ 70 sites worldwide across all major forest biomes in most continents. Measurements will estimate nutrient fluxes from herbivory and compare them to modeled values from the same regions for other nutrient sources. Measurements will be targeted within relatively undisturbed forest ecosystems and across gradients in rainfall, temperature and ecosystem age. Key outcomes / deliverables are:

  • 1) Patterns of herbivore nutrient fluxes across different global forest types.
  • 2) Estimates of the different forms of herbivore deposits by biome.
  • 3) Impacts of temperature and rainfall on spatial and temporal patterns of herbivore nutrient fluxes.
  • 4) Effects of natural and human disturbance on herbivore nutrient fluxes
  • 5) Possibly - Pattern of herbivory and associated nutrient fluxes in forests worldwide following an El-Niño event.



  • University degree in a relevant subject (environmental sciences, ecology, soil science, physical geography).
  • Willingness to travel extensively and spend long periods of time doing fieldwork.
  • Driving license or ability to get one before September 2017.
  • Ability to provide two references from previous employers / supervisors, possibly more.


  • Experience of field work in remote sites.
  • Experience of quantitative analysis, particularly statistics.
  • Experience of scientific publication, especially in English.
  • Experience with applying for and winning grants or other awards.
  • Documented experience of basic medical emergency training.
  • Experience of working independently & organizing own work schedule to achieve a specific goal.
  • Experience of working successfully within a team.
  • Experience of managing and leading a team.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment September 2017, duration 4 years
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2017/1582
  • Daniel Metcalfe, Lecturer, +4672-205 27 95,
  • Natalie Nyman, HR administrator, +46-222 78 30,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, +46-222 93 62,
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, +46-222 93 64,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, +46-222 93 66,
Published 22.May.2017
Last application date 20.Jul.2017 11:59 PM CET

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