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PhD position in ectomycorrhizal biology and soil biodiversity

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to join our research team interested in deciphering ectomycorrhizal symbiosis in tree roots. In this project, you will perform pioneering work to develop a high-throughput Raman spectroscopy based method to identify ectomycorrhizal fungi in soil and root samples from the forest. You will validate this method with morphological analysis (involving microscopy) and DNA-amplicon sequencing based fungal identification and apply the new method to a variety of case studies. These latter involve the investigation of the effect of different harvesting strategies on ectomycorrhizal biodiversity in experimental plots owned by our industry partner Bergvik Skog. You will also perform fungal cultivation experiments leading to inoculation of pine tree seedlings and study the seedling’s growth performance and the development of their ectomycorrhizal flora before and after out-planting onto forest sites.

You will be employed as a PhD student for 4 years in the Felten group ( at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which forms together with the Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University the Umeå Plant Science Center ( This project is carried out in collaboration with Prof. V. Hurry’s group and Dr. N. Delhomme at the UPSC bioinformatics platform. UPSC is a leading research institute in experimental plant biology with a friendly and international atmosphere providing a highly stimulating environment for PhD studies. UPSC offers excellent facilities for tree research, bioinformatics, microscopy and access to Umeå University’s Vibrational Spectroscopy Platform. This project involves an industrial partner (Bergvik Skog) (, one of Europe’s largest private land owners, producing environmentally certified forest raw materials. Umeå is a vibrant university town and has been Europe’s cultural capital in 2014. From here you have good connections via Stockholm to the rest of the world. Umeå’s location in the Northern boreal forest belt provides excellent opportunities for the nature interested and easy access to different outdoor activities.


You hold a Master’s degree in biology, ecology, microbiology or forestry and have a keen interest for the field of ectomycorrhizae, tree and soil biology. Ideally you have experience with field trials, morphological identification of fungi in forests, sterile culture systems and DNA-amplicon sequencing-based species identification. You have very good computer skills and the capacity to familiarize yourself with bioinformatics to learn carrying out, under supervision by the UPSC bioinformatics platform, data analysis subsequent to DNA-amplicon sequencing. You have an interest for cross-disciplinary work; experience with spectroscopy techniques is a plus. As a person, you have excellent communication skills in English, a practical mind-set and you are used to independence in your daily work. You are enjoying being part of an international team where everyone has their own project and where we share regular discussions and common responsibilities. This project involves field work and requires you to have a driver’s licence.

Forms for funding or employment
Employment as PhD student (2 or 4 years education)

SLU is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the dissertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant's qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at


Further information:

Academic union representatives

  • SACO Peder Axensten +46 (0)90-7868500
  • SEKO Inga-Lis Johansson +46 (0)90 786 82 10
  • ST Hans Åkesson +46 (0)90 786 83 42

Applications, marked with ref no 2741/2017, must have arrived at the Registrar of SLU, P.O. Box 7070, SE-750 07 Uppsala or no later than 2017-08-06.

Umeå, SE

Printed from on 24/07/17 09:27:51 AM

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