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Postdoctoral position (2 years) in bioinformatics - Impact of climate change on flowering and diversity of boreal forest trees

Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap




  • Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
  • Extent 100%
  • Place Umeå

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science (Umeå University, Sweden) invites applicants for a postdoctoral position focused on analyzing time series of shotgun metagenomics data aiming at understanding climate impact on boreal forest trees. Application deadline is November 15th, 2019.

Project description and working tasks
Many of the keystone boreal forest trees, like Norway spruce and Scots pine, rely solely on sexual reproduction for regeneration. As climate change is expected to affect directly phenology and distribution of boreal forest species, we need to understand how flowering phenology and gene flow respond to the changes.

The project has access to a unique archive of air filters that represents an unbroken 40-year line of samples collected weekly in northern Sweden and genome-wide diversity data for both pine and spruce over their entire range. Together with publicly available genetic data as well as weather and land-use data, this project will address questions such as:

  • Has the reproductive phenology of boreal tree species responded to changing climate conditions?
  • To what extent do climate change influence the regularity of flowering and the relative proportion of trees involved in reproduction?
  • Is long distance pollen dispersal common among tree species and has the pattern changed over time?
  • Has the genetic diversity of the major tree species participating in reproduction changed over the time period as measured by sequence diversity of captured pollen?

The research will mainly include modelling and NGS data analyses. NGS analysis will mainly consist of identifying genetic variants in the air filter data (~400 samples shotgun sequenced to a depth of 200-800 million 150 bp PE reads). The postdoc will also have the freedom to contribute to other ongoing projects and to develop own projects that are aligned with the group’s interests.

The appointment is for 2 years (full-time employment). The employment is planned for a start late 2019 or early 2020.

A PhD degree in bioinformatics, genetics, ecology, or a related field is a demand. We seek highly motivated candidates with a broad experience in genomics and NGS data analysis as well as experience in programming and working in Linux environments. To be eligible for this fellowship, you should have completed your doctoral degree a maximum three (3) years before the end of the application period unless special circumstances exists. Good ability to co-operate is required as well as good skills in written and spoken English.

Experience with large-scale sequence analysis is a merit as well as familiarity with phylogenomic analyses, statistics, population genetics and various modelling approaches.

The full application should include:

  • A cover letter describing why you are interested in the project and your suitability (max. 2 pages).
  • A CV, including a list of your publications
  • Copies of your doctoral thesis and relevant publications (maximum 5)
  • Copy of doctoral degree certificate and other relevant degree certificates.
  • Names and contact details (email and phone) of three reference persons.
  • Any other documents you wish to refer to.

The application, written in English (preferably) or Swedish, is made through our electronic recruitment system. Documents sent electronically must be in Word or PDF format.The closing date is November 15th, 2019.

For more information, contact Dr. Per Stenberg (, Dr. Johanna Leppälä ( or Prof. Xiao-Ru Wang (

For more information about our research, please visit:

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science ( carries out research and postgraduate education in ecology, environmental science and physical geography. The department has about 150 employees, about 15 of whom are post-docs.


According to agreement


Dr. Per Stenberg


Dr. Johanna Leppälä


Prof. Xiao-Ru Wang


Registration number

AN 2.2.1-1282-19


Monthly salary

Union representative


090-786 53 65


090-786 52 96


090-786 54 31




Umeå University wants to offer an equal environment where open dialogue between people with different backgrounds and perspectives lay the foundation for learning, creativity and development. We welcome people with different backgrounds and experiences to apply for the current employment. We kindly decline offers of recruitment and advertising help.