Postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical Palaeoecology University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics Netherlands

Postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical Palaeoecology


Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics


Publication date
30 November 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,588 to €4,084 gross per month
Closing date
15 January 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of the eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. IBED covers a wide range of subjects, in both fundamental and applied research. Our scientific studies aim at a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to climate change, using a truly multidisciplinary approach.


We are seeking an experienced and highly motivated postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical palaeoecology. The three year position will include conducting fieldwork, laboratory analyses, and statistical analyses of palaeoecological data collected in Amazonia.


Project description


The appointment is part of a project funded by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; NWO) entitled 'The past peoples of Amazonia: assessing ecological legacies'. The project is linked to other current research led by Dr Crystal McMichael, including reconstructing cultural histories from lake sediments in northwestern Amazonia, and linking past human activities with modern ecological observations. The postdoctoral researcher will also get to incorporate their results into larger consortiums where Dr McMichael is a participant, including the LandUse6k working group and the NIMBioS Climate Proxies working group.


The research will quantify human impacts and ecological legacies on Amazonian ecosystems over the last 3000 years through palaeoecological and statistical analyses. The project involves analyzing microfossils, including pollen, phytoliths, and charcoal, found within soils and lake sediments. The researcher will then apply statistical techniques to these data with the aim of generating a transfer function that estimates past human impacts in tropical forest systems. Public outreach and engagement with local communities in Amazonia are also components of the project.


We are looking for a candidate with:

  1. experience in fieldwork in remote areas;

  2. skills in Neotropical pollen;

  3. quantitative skills, including familiarity with R and GIS, and

  4. a successful track record of publications.


The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to produce at least 3 first-author papers in international peer-reviewed journals during the project, and present the results of the research at national and international conferences. The postdoctoral researcher will work with members of the Departments of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics and Theoretical and Computational Ecology, and foster cross-departmental collaborations within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. There is the possibility, but not the requirement, to contribute to educational tasks, e.g. contribute to teaching within courses of the BSc Biology, BSc Future Planet Studies, MSc Earth Sciences and MSc Biological Sciences.




The candidate must have:

  • a PhD in biology, ecology, geography, or a related discipline;

  • interest and enthusiasm for tropical ecology and palaeoecology;

  • skills in identifying tropical pollen;

  • skills and experience in R and ArcGIS;

  • willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team;

  • proficiency in scientific writing and a track record of publications;

  • he ability to speak, write, and communicate in English at an academic level;

  • experience with fieldwork in remote regions.


Of additional advantage:

  • fluency in Portuguese and/or Spanish;

  • experience in public engagement of science;

  • experience with mentoring and supervising undergraduate students;

  • experience with identifying additional palaeoecological microfossils (i.e. charcoal, phytoliths, non-pollen palynomorphs, diatoms);

  • knowledge of tropical plant families.


Further information


Interested? For more information on this position please contact:

  • Dr Crystal H. McMichael, Assistant professor, Department of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics

    T: +31 (0)20 525 7316




We offer a position for 38 hours a week in an exciting, dynamic and international research environment, starting 1 April 2018 (though this date is flexible). The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of three years. The initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory assessment it will be extended for a total duration of three years. This position is classified in the function profile Researcher at level 4. The full-time gross monthly salary varies between €2,588 and €4,084 gross per month, depending on relevant experience (salary scale 10).  The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus.


Job application


Applications should be mailed to application-science@uva.nlreferring to vacancy number 17-601 in the subject field. Applications should include the following items combined into one PDF file and placed in the following order:

  • motivation letter (max. 1-2 pages, containing your motivation for applying and a description of your previous research experience);

  • list of your 2-3 most significant publications (incl. a short description in 2-3 sentences what is interesting in each paper);

  • CV with applicant’s e-mail address and telephone number, documentation of education, complete publication list, and contact details of two professional references [name, address, telephone and email]. References will only be contacted if the candidate is short-listed. #LI-DNP

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