Post-doc and PhD possibilities in Estonia

Text by Lauri Laanisto

I, Lauri Laanisto, am looking for a post-doc and a PhD to start in summer/fall 2017 to work in the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

First of all, about the post-doc option.

The post-doc option means that the potential candidate has to apply for funding via research mobility program Mobilitas Pluss. This is a pretty competitive measure for post-docs who would like to come to Estonia for some research. Project duration should be between 1 to 2 years; and deadline for applying is 3rd of March. See more information from a previous blog post (as the conditions are the same) or from Estonian Research Council´s Mobilitas Pluss page (link).

I´m looking for a post-doc to work on two long-term plant ecology field projects dealing with biodiversity and how it is affected by habitat heterogeneity and fragmentation. Thus the candidate has to be capable of spending a lot of time in the field (Estonian summers can be chilly, wet and there´s lot of bloodsucking insects) and has to have driver´s license. Additionally, good English skills are needed, and at least basic level on statistical analysis.

Anyway, if there are serious candidates, please contact me: laanisto at ut dot ee for more detailed information about the projects and how to apply (we´ll be writing the application together). Deadline for the first contact is the end of January.


Setting up the soil heterogeneity – plant diversity relationship experiment


The potential PhD candidate will be working in a project:

Patterns and mechanisms of woody species stress polytolerance on global scale
According to traditional ecophysiological theories plant stress tolerance is determined by universal physiochemical constraints that don´t allow plants to successfully tolerate several abiotic stress factors simultaneously. Yet, recent studies have shown these trade-offs to be less fundamental, leaving more wiggle room for gaining polytolerance through adaptations. Various functional and phylogenetic traits, but also climatic factors have been proposed as the main mechanisms behind the variability of woody species to various abiotic stress. Moreover, some of the alternative explanations, like intraspecific variability – either ontogenetic development, or locally climate induced plasticity –, and biotic stress tolerance has been overlooked in such studies. The core of this project is to test: 1) global patterns of abiotic stress trade-offs and mechanisms shaping polytolerance; 2) intraspecific variability in polytolerance; 3) trade-offs between abiotic and biotic stress tolerance.

See also this blog post and that one for more information about the framework of this research project.

This research uses metadata and field work is not required. However, good computational skills (and motivation to develop these skills) are expected. R! Good English as well. In order to graduate, PhD candidate has to publish minimum three top level papers (at least one first author study), plus of course the thesis as well.

PhD candidate will receive average Estonian income, there is possiblity to live in dormitory next to the university.

Once again, if there are serious candidates, please contact me: laanisto at ut dot ee for more detailed information. Deadline for the first contact is also the end of January.


Some words about me as well. I´m an independent senior researcher in the Department of Botany of Estonian University of Life Sciences, but I´m mainly collaborating with Ülo Niinemets and his work group in the Department of Plant Physiology. My main interests are related to macroecology and macrophysiology – global patterns of diversity and funtionality in plants. Yet, in addition to meta-analysis, and being a “research parasite”, I do try to carry out long-term ecological experiments and provide other “research parasites” with data of my own…

My focus is on theory, and there is not too much applied research happening on my desk. In my mind there are lots of traditional ecological models that are oversimplifying vegetation because these models expect life to react and behave similarly in all the places in the world. I´m just trying to make these models a bit more complicated by adding the biogeographic dynamics into it – even if the same mechanisms are shaping vegetation, they can create very different outcomes in different climates, habitat types etc. That´s what I´m mainly trying to study.

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2 Responses to Post-doc and PhD possibilities in Estonia

  1. Q says:

    Average equals mean or median?


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