Fixed term Postdoctoral researcher position in plant-soil microbial interactions

Fixed term Postdoctoral researcher position in plant-soil microbial interactions

The University of Turku is a world-class multidisciplinary research university which offers interesting challenges and a unique vantage point to national and international research and education.

The position is located in the Department of Biology. The postdoctoral researcher will work on the four-year project “Going belowground to curb plant invasions” funded by the Academy of Finland. The position will be filled earliest 1.9.2020 for a duration of 16 months.

Biological invasions constitute one of the major threats to biomes. Plants are forming a significant part of all invasive species and several hypotheses have been proposed to explain their success, such as release from natural enemies. However, previous studies on plant invasions have mostly focused on aboveground systems, overlooking belowground mechanisms. This project will investigate how soil microbes (pathogens and mutualists) may promote or prevent plant invasions. By combining manipulative experiments, modern molecular tools, and demographic models, the project will explicitly link soil microbes to plant performance and population growth rate. This information will be critical for understanding the biotic factors that shape plant communities beyond invasive species, and it has applications to biological control and weed management.

Responsibilities: The postdoctoral researcher will analyse soil microbial communities and their function in relation to the invasion history of a perennial herb. She or he will design and conduct common garden experiments, and will write papers together with national and international collaborators.

The successful candidate should have:

1) PhD in microbiology, genetics, (soil) ecology or a comparable field.

2) Experience in molecular methods (DNA extraction, PCR, next-generation sequencing) and demonstrated ability to analyse molecular data and publish the findings in international peer-reviewed journals.  

3) Demonstrated ability to independently initiate, conduct, and complete research projects.

Previous experience in soil microbes and experimental plant ecology is a plus.

The salary for the postdoctoral candidate is in accordance with the Finnish university salary system for teaching and research personnel, where the work-specific salary component (reflecting the demands of the position) is 2967,84 €/month for level 5. In addition, the component based on personal performance adds a minimum of 6-50% to the base salary depending on the previous relevant research and teaching experience of the candidate.

The position is subject to a six-month trial period.

The application should include 1) a motivation letter describing the applicant’s research interests, qualifications, and reasons for applying, 2) a full CV including a list of publications and the contact details of a minimum of two referees, and 3) a copy of the degree certificate.

Applications must be submitted by Monday 10th of August 2020 using the electronic application form of the University of Turku The link to the application system is at the top of this announcement (Apply for the job).

For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Satu Ramula, satu.ramula(at) For questions related to the application process, contact HR specialist Kaisa Ketomäki, kaisa.ketomaki(at)

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