Post Doc in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions

University of Copenhagen Department of Biology


Postdoc in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions

A two-year postdoctoral fellowship is available from July 15, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter in the Terrestrial Ecology Section within the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen.

The position is available in an ERC consolidator project assessing emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) from tundra ecosystems to the atmosphere. In this project, we conduct laboratory and field measurements in order to get a better understanding of the controls of BVOC emissions from plants, soil and ecosystems. The host research group on Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions is led by Professor Riikka Rinnan and consists of 5-10 other research staff members plus a number of students.

Project overview

Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) influence atmospheric oxidation causing climate feedback thought to be especially significant in remote areas with low anthropogenic emissions, such as the Arctic. Still, we do not understand the dynamics and impact of climatic and biotic BVOC emission drivers in arctic and alpine tundra, which are highly temperature-sensitive BVOC sources. This ERC consolidator project aims to redefine tundra BVOC emission estimates to account for rapid and dramatic climate warming accompanied by effects of vegetation change, permafrost thaw, insect outbreaks and herbivory using multidisciplinary methodology. We will quantify the relationships between leaf and canopy temperatures and BVOC emissions to improve BVOC emission model predictions of emission rates in low-statured tundra vegetation, which efficiently heats up under clear sky. We will experimentally determine the contribution of induced BVOC emissions from insect herbivory in the warming Arctic by field manipulation experiments addressing basal herbivory and insect outbreaks and by stable isotope labelling to identify sources of the induced emission. Complementary laboratory assessment will determine if permafrost thaw leads to significant BVOC emissions from thawing processes and newly available soil processes, or if released BVOCs are largely taken up by soil microbes. We will also use a global network of existing climate warming experiments in alpine tundra to assess how the BVOC emissions from tundra vegetation world-wide respond to climate change. Measurement data will help develop and parameterize BVOC emission models to produce holistic enhanced predictions for global tundra emissions.

Main tasks and responsibilities

The successful candidate will be responsible for developing independent research within the scientific area of the project. This includes data collection in laboratory experiments and/or in the field, processing and interpretation as well as writing scientific publications. The candidate should be willing to join for field expeditions in remote locations.


We are looking for an ambitious, creative, and highly motivated candidate with a PhD in biology, physical geography, meteorology, biogeochemistry, or a related field. Fluency in written and spoken English is a requirement, as well as excellent writing skills demonstrated by the publication record. A successful candidate also has some experience with processes involving BVOCs or the quantification of BVOCs using GC-MS or PTR-MS techniques. Skills and interest in instrument and method development as well as programming are assets. Although the candidate must be able to work independently, good interpersonal skills are also needed.

Procedures and shortlisting

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an expert committee will assess their application. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. The Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee, will make the final selection of the successful candidate.

You can read about the recruitment process at

Place of employment and principal place of work

University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Terrestrial Ecology Section, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen.

Terms of employment

The position is from July 15, 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter. Employment period is 2 years.

Terms of appointment and payment according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The starting salary is currently up to DKK 437.843 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74.871). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Further information can be obtained from Prof. Riikka Rinnan (e-mail:

How to apply

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please Include:

  • a cover letter including statement of research interests and reasons for applying to this position
  • curriculum vitae including a list of publications
  • Copy of the PhD diploma or documentation for planned PhD defense
  • Research plan incl. description of current research and research plans within this project (max. 2 pages)
  • Separate reprints of 3 particularly relevant papers
  • Max. 2 reference letters

Deadline for application is May 02, 2021 at 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline, not using the online application form, or not including the required documents will not be considered.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 02-05-2021
Employment start: 15-07-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Biology

In your application, please refer to


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