There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the University of Bergen’s Department of Biological Sciences within the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group ( as part of the European Research Council funded project Humans on Planet Earth – Long-term impacts on biosphere dynamics (HOPE) ( The position is for a fixed-term period of 3 years with the possibility of a 4th year with compulsory other work (e.g. teaching duties in the Department).

About the project:

A critical question in ecology and conservation biology is to what extent humans affect ecological patterns and processes. Humans have greatly changed the Earth in the last 8000–11,000 years, including in mountains systems. How did humans leave an imprint on species range sizes and elevational diversity gradients in mountains? What did biodiversity patterns look like before humans arrived in an area, and is this comparable to areas with little human impact today? How have the same patterns been affected by humans through time from the small-scale impacts of prehistoric people to the broad scale impacts of the ‘Anthropocene’? One way to get a better understanding of this is to compare ecosystems with and without human impact, both in time and space. Palaeoecological and macroecological data from around the world will be used to test different hypotheses about how human activities have affected diversity patterns and species range sizes. Human influence on elevational-gradient patterns will be explored by comparing patterns for the present, the Holocene and the Pleistocene. The outcomes will be compared to other theoretical explanations of drivers of elevational gradient patterns.

The successful candidate will be primarily responsible (together with the supervisors) for developing tests for evaluating the effect of humans through space and time on species range sizes and developing analyses to compare diversity patterns and range sizes from different data sources in mountainous regions, interpretation of pollen-stratigraphical data for reconstructing range size through time, and applying mapping techniques to assess the patterns over time and space.

A detailed outline of the posting can be found here: or by contacting: Professor John-Arvid Grytnes, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen (+47 55 58 81 28 / email: