PhD Position in Temporal Dynamics, Uncertainty and Resilience of Pond Ecosystems in Response to Climate Change
Catholic University of Leuven

A PhD position is available at the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation in the research group of Professor Luc De Meester ( at KU Leuven within the EU Horizon 2020 project PONDERFUL (


The project’s overarching aim is to develop improvedmethods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes in climate changeadaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and the delivery ofecosystem services.

Smallstanding water bodies, such as ponds, are the most numerous freshwater bodiesand strongly contribute to biodiversity and vital ecosystem services. 

In spiteof their great importance, ponds are largely neglected in water-and naturerelated policies and strategies. 
While ponds are exposed to the same threatsfacing larger waters, they may be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Asbiodiversity value and ecosystem services delivery are likely to dramaticallychange with the ecological status of ponds, there are important feedbacks toconsider. The main aim of the research in PONDERFUL will be toincrease understanding of the ways in which ponds, as a Nature-Based Solution(NBS), can help society to mitigate and adapt to climate change, protectbiodiversity and deliver ecosystem services. This important and innovativeproject brings together experienced researchers from nine European states andfrom Turkey and Uruguay.

Theresearch involves highly standardized field studies and targeted case-studiesinvestigating interactions and feedbacks between pond biodiversity, ecosystemservices and climate change. 
We specifically aim to (1) analyze the short-andlong-term stability of pond ecosystems and services, (2) test for the effect oflandscape characteristics on the dynamics following pond restoration andcreation of new ponds, and (3) estimate resilience and the occurrence ofpotential tipping points in ecosystem state. Additionally to the practicalwork, the candidate will analyze and publish the results. 
The work will be donein very close collaboration with the teams of PD Dr. Thomas Mehner and Dr.Sabine Hilt at IGB (Berlin, Germany).


We are looking for a highly motivated andambitious PhD student with an excellent academic record, work ethics and strongproven interest in ecology. 

A European Union associated master’sdegree (EER – Switzerland) in ecology, limnology,environmental sciences or related fields is required. 
Working language will beEnglish, but a good command of spoken German is needed. 
A driving license forcars is highly recommended. The candidate should be willing to spendconsiderable time at IGB Berlin (Germany). 


We offer a full-time job initially for a periodof one year, but extendable to four years pending good evaluation. 

Willingnessto also apply for personal funding through a fellowship is a prerequisite. 
Youwill be embedded in an international, enthusiastic and dynamic team with ampleexpertise in using freshwater ponds as model systems to address key questionsrelated to the outlined work ( The historicuniversity, founded in 1425, has a top research and teaching standard( 
KU Leuven features consistently in Europe'stop-15 universities and has been elected by Reuters as most innovativeuniversity in Europe for three years in a row.


Meer informatie is te verkrijgen bij prof. dr. Luc De Meester, tel.: +32 16 32 37 08, mail: of de heer Pieter Lemmens, tel.: +32 16 37 36 91, mail:

Solliciteren voor deze vacature kan tot en met 26/02/2021 via onze
KU Leuven wil een omgeving creëren waarin alle talenten maximaal tot ontplooiing kunnen komen, ongeacht gender, leeftijd, culturele herkomst, nationaliteit of functiebeperking. Hebt u vragen in verband met toegankelijkheid of ondersteuningsmogelijkheden, dan kan u ons contacteren via
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: February 26, 2021
  • Tags: Biologie

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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