Aarhus Universitet

2-yr postdoc – Studying the effect of global change on plant-pollinator interactions with computer vision

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The Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, invites applications for a 2-year postdoc position in ecoinformatics. The successful candidate will help overcome key knowledge gaps about how plant-pollinator interactions are affected by range-expanding plant species.

The position will be one of five early career positions within the international project Mechanisms Underlying the Success and Impacts on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning of Range-xpanding Species under Climate Change (RangeX), funded by the BiodivERsA COFUND Call on "Biodiversity and Climate Change". The project consortium involves partners from Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland, and will work closely with collaborators from across the global Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN; www.mountaininvasions.org/).

Starting Date and Period
The position is for 2 years and is available from May 1, 2021 or as soon as possible hereafter, but no later than June 1, 2021.

Job description
Species are shifting their distributions in response to global warming and through biological invasions. However, they are doing so at widely different rates, leading to a reassembly of ecological communities and changes in species interactions. The effect of climate change on biodiversity may thus be mediated by species interactions such as pollination. Plant-pollinator interactions are challenging to study, but novel image-based approaches are providing opportunities for detailed recording of the timing and frequency of interactions and their consequences for plant reproduction.

The successful candidate will address this key knowledge gap through fieldwork along elevational gradients at three study sites by using time-lapse photography, computer vision, and machine learning to quantify plant phenology and visitation rates to individual flowers as part of the RangeX transplant experiment. In this experiment, range-expanding plant species are introduced to native plant communities.

The candidate should be capable of doing fieldwork in remote locations over extended periods. Our lab already have trained machine learning models for detecting insects in time lapse images, but the candidate is expected to apply and further develop image-based analyses tools. The candidate is expected to contribute ideas and concepts to the project and lead the development of at least two high-quality papers based on the project. Further, the candidate should contribute to the project’s public outreach, as well as collaborate with other team members, including students, sharing skills, and help solve problems in her/his area of expertise.

Your profile
Applicants must have PhD degree (or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline) in quantitative population or community ecology with excellent numerical skills. Programming experience in R and Python is a great advantage as is familiarity with image analysis using computer vision and convolutional neural networks. Research experience in pollination ecology, phenology, and biotic interactions will also be an advantage.

The successful candidate is expected to have strong collaborative skills, proven abilities to publish at a high international level, and must be proficient in English. International applicants who do not have English as their first language must prove strong English skills, both in writing and speaking.

Who we are
Project PI senior scientist and head of section for Biodiversity and Conservation at the Department of Bioscience Toke Thomas Høye will be the main supervisor and associate professor Kim Bjerge at the Aarhus School of Engineering will be the co-supervisor. The postdoc will join an interdisciplinary team of biologists, engineers, and computer scientists focusing on developing and implementing image-based monitoring tools for ecology and biodiversity. The research group is focused on matching the spatial and temporal scale of observation to the scale at which ecological interactions take place. The group harbors strong expertise in global change ecology and biotic interactions as well as in computer vision and machine learning. Postdocs and PhD students are encouraged to collaborate within the group, across departments and with other universities. More information about the people and research activities of the group can be found here and here.

What we offer
The successful candidate is offered:
  • an ambitious, creative and friendly research environment, inviting lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research
  • a working environment with teamwork, close working relations, network activities among young scientists and social activities
  • a workplace characterized by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance
  • access to a well-developed research infrastructure
  • office space, shared equipment

Place of Work
The place of employment and work is the Section of Biodiversity and Conservation, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Grenåvej 14, 8410 Rønde, Denmark.

Contact Information
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Senior scientist Toke Thomas Høye, phone +45 30183122, e-mail: tth@bios.au.dk.

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference
If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range
Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at www.international.au.dk/

Deadline: 01 February 2021


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