Exploring the Past, Shaping the Future: A full-time PhD position in Global Vegetation Biodiversity (Prague, 4 years, starting October 2024)

Are you passionate about unravelling the mysteries of our planet's biodiversity using large data and statistics? I offer a fully funded, full-time PhD position in a field spanning macroecology, palaeoecology, biodiversity science, and quantitative ecology. The candidate will join my newly established Laboratory of Quantitative Ecology at the Department of Botany at the Faculty of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

The latest news about the position can be found on the website: [https://bit.ly/…ds)

About the team

My lab is fascinated by macroecology, palaeoecology, and biodiversity science. I focus on exploring spatio-temporal patterns of vegetation biodiversity, with a commitment to interdisciplinary research and a focus on human impact.

Project in detail

Holocene Diversity Trends: Quantifying Global Vegetation Biodiversity Changes since the Last Glacial Maximum

This project aims to unveil macroecological patterns shaping global plant biodiversity, emphasizing the necessity of understanding past ecological dynamics for accurate forecasting. In the face of the ongoing biodiversity crisis, comprehending drivers influencing plant biodiversity over time becomes crucial for estimating the effects of human impacts on the environment.

The long-term perspective of vegetation history relies on data spanning millennia. Palaeoecological research, particularly fossil pollen records, serves as an exceptional source, offering detailed vegetation history over these extensive timescales. Despite existing regional studies on taxonomic diversity changes in past vegetation, a global multi-faceted synthesis is lacking, hindering a holistic understanding of long-term vegetation dynamics.

The PhD project will target this gap by using state-of-the-art public databases and a range of advanced numerical techniques, while strategically positioned within a global network of interdisciplinary collaborators. Leveraging cutting-edge advancements in quantitative palaeoecological methods, data science, and machine learning, the project will explore multiple facets of plant biodiversity (taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic) spanning various spatial scales (biomes, subcontinental, continents, global), encompassing the period since the Last Glacial Maximum (last 21.000 yr).

By advancing comprehension of global biodiversity patterns and their historical drivers, this project contributes pivotal knowledge for predicting ecological responses to global change. The interdisciplinary nature of this project will further foster valuable outputs for macroecologists, palaeoecologists, archaeologists, global change ecologists, and ecoinformatics, among others.

Five relevant publications of the research group:

Mottl, O. & Flantua, S.G.A., Bhatta K.B., Felde, V.A., Giesecke, T., Goring, S., Grimm, E.C., Haberle, S., Hooghiemstra H., Ivory, S., Kuneš, P., Wolters, S., Seddon A.W.R, Williams J.W. (2021), Global acceleration in rates of vegetation change over the past 18,000 years. Science 372: 860-864.

Flantua S.G. & Mottl, O. & Felde, V.A. & Bhatta, K.P., Birks, H.H., Grytnes, J., Seddon, A.W.R., Birks, H.J.B. (2023), A guide to the processing and standardisation of global palaeoecological data for large-scale syntheses using fossil pollen. Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Bhatta, K.P., Mottl, O., Felde, V.A., Flantua S.G., Birks, H.H., Cao, X., Chen, F., Grytnes, J., Seddon, A.W. R., Birks, H.J.B. (2023), Exploring spatio-temporal patterns of palynological changes in Asia during the Holocene. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Brown, K. A., Bunting, M. J., Carvalho, F., de Bello, F., Mander, L., Marcisz, K., Mottl, O., Reitalu, T., & Svenning, J.-C. (2023), Trait-based approaches as ecological time machines: Developing tools for reconstructing long-term variation in ecosystems. Functional Ecology 00: 1-18.

Birks, H.J.B., Bhatta, K.P., Felde, V.A., Flantua, S.G., Mottl, O., Haberle, S.G., Herbert A., Hooghiemstra H., Birks, H.H., Grytnes, J., Seddon, A.W.R. (2023). Approaches to pollen taxonomic harmonisation in Quaternary palynology. Palaeobotany and Palynology 319: 104989.

Deadline is closed

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