PhD Opportunity: Exploring Arctic land-lake interactions under changing climate, University of Copenhagen

PhD fellowship in “exploring Arctic land-lake interactions under changing climate” in Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Department of Biology invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in exploring biogeochemical interactions between land and lake ecosystems in the North. This PhD position is a department-funded project to strengthen the collaborations between Terrestrial Ecology Section and Freshwater Biology Section. It offers an excellent opportunity for this PhD candidate to work at both sections and collaborate with both field experimentalists and ecosystem modellers.

Start date: December 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.


About 50% of the total number of lakes are located above north of 60 °N, representing a prominent landscape feature in the Arctic. Under future warming, lake areas are expected to increase partly as warming can lead to form new thermokarst lakes from thawing permafrost, dynamically altering land and lake coverages. Furthermore, warming can also increase the leaching of dissolved organic and inorganic matters with runoff water from terrestrial ecosystems, brining in new sources of carbon and nutrient into lake ecosystems. The interactions between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are often neglected in ecosystem models but could result in uncounted feedbacks from both ecosystems, especially in the fast-warming Arctic.

The PhD candidate will investigate the importance of land-lake interactions for high-latitude ecosystems and carbon cycle and quantify regional greenhouse gas emissions from high-latitude lakes. The PhD project will start with coupling the dynamic vegetation model, LPJ-GUESS with Advanced Lake Biogeochemistry Model (ALBM), calibrate and evaluate the land-lake interactions based on a range of field-measured variables, and eventually assess how land-lake interactions feedback to the changing climate.  

Who are they looking for?

They are looking for candidates within the field(s) of freshwater biology, terrestrial ecology or ecohydrology, with good understanding of biogeochemical cycling. It will be a plus if the candidate has some experience in process-based ecosystem modelling.

Their group and research- and what do they offer?

Jing Tang’ research group is at the Department of Biology, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. They are located in Copenhagen. Tang’s group focuses on understanding high-latitude ecosystem dynamics and associated feedbacks under changing climate, primarily based on integration of process-based modelling and observations. By joining this group, the candidate will also be affiliated to the Terrestrial Ecology Section, the Freshwater Biology Section, and Center for Volatile Interactions (VOLT), a Centre of Excellence funded by The Danish National Research Foundation. Both sections and the VOLT center offer a wide range of research topics in plant physiology, terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemistry, soil biology, and ecosystem-atmosphere interactions.

They offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. Their research facilities include supercomputering resources for model simulations and heavy data processing.

Principal supervisor: Assistant Professor Jing TangTerrestrial Ecology Section, Department of Biology (; +45-35334606)

Second supervisor: Professor Kirsten Seestern Christoffersen, Freshwater Ecology Section, Department of Biology (; +4535330123).

Dr. Zeli Tan from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will provide technical and scientific supports for coupling ALBM and analyzing related results.

Qualifications needed for the regular programme:

To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. Ecology, Biology, climate science, physical geography or related field. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme:

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

They are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications, if any
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in ecosystem dynamics under climate change
  • Experiences in process-based ecosystem modelling and/or knowledge on freshwater biogeochemistry
  • Some experiences in Fortran, C or C++ programming
  • Good written and oral English skills

Application and Assessment Procedure:

Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include: 

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page, if possible, please describe why you want to do a PhD)
  2. Your motivation for applying for this particular PhD project
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science and Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  5. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: 15 September 2023, 23:59 UCT +1

They reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process:

After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Questions:For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.