Lund University, Faculty of Science, 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:

Supervisors: Daniel Metcalfe ( & Johannes Rousk (

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 recognised other sources, such as deposits from herbivores particularly invertebrate herbivores, 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, whereas relatively little is still known about the end-consequences of herbivore products (bodies, excreta) for soil functioning and how this interacts with environmental variability.

To fill this knowledge gap, this PhD project will collect herbivore deposits from a global network of forest monitoring stations and apply them to soil mesocosms under different temperature and moisture conditions to understand how herbivory could alter soil biogeochemistry under different climate change scenarios.


The proposed work will establish experimental mixtures of soils and different herbivore products, then subject them to a range of biological and chemical assays under different temperature and moisture regimes to record the interactive effects of climate and herbivore products on soil functioning. Key outcomes / deliverables are:

  • 1) Comparison of the capacity of soil microbes to decompose herbivore deposits versus leaf litter.
  • 2) Impacts of herbivore transformation of organic matter on microbial activity, breakdown of old soil carbon and cycling of nutrients.
  • 3) Shifts in the amount and forms of nutrients in soil solution following addition of herbivore deposits.
  • 4) Sensitivity of these herbivore deposit-mediated shifts in soil processes to changes in temperature and moisture.



  • University degree in a relevant subject (environmental sciences, ecology, soil science, physical geography).
  • Experience of laboratory work, especially with biochemistry/microbiology
  • Ability to provide two references from previous employers / supervisors, possibly more.


  • Experience of quantitative analysis, particularly statistics.
  • Experience of scientific publication, especially in English.
  • Experience with the use of isotopes.
  • Experience with applying for and winning funding or other awards.
  • 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 PA2017/1584
  • Daniel Metcalfe, Lecturer, +4672-205 2795,
  • 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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