Research Associate in Ecosystem Service Changes
University of York
United Kingdom

Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Ecosystem Service Changes

Department:Various departments
Based at:University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work:Full-time
Contract status:Fixed term
Salary:32,817 - 40,322 a year
Interview Date:Expected w/c 24/08/2020
Posted Date:06/07/2020
Apply by:03/08/2020
Job Reference:8697

Role Description


The new Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity (LCAB) researches the changing relationship between humanity and the natural world, and how we might maintain and develop a sustainable Earth. The Centre represents an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of York, the University of Sherbrooke, the Australian National University and the University of St Andrews. LCAB recognises biological gains as well as losses, and identifies the circumstances under which changes are perceived as positive or negative. It aims to understand and inform society’s response to these changes.


SEVEN postdoctoral research positions are available across the sciences, social sciences and humanities, joining five others who have already been appointed. The roles will plan, coordinate, and conduct independent and collaborative LCAB research. You will develop and apply models, analyse research results, and write up research findings for publication and other forms of communication. You will also be a member of a University of York department appropriate to each role:

  • Accumulation of Biodiversity in Anthropocene Environments: Conducting a programme of research on ecological diversification associated with human-induced ecosystem changes. We are looking for a person with the capacity to use global and national databases, statistical modelling, and meta-analysis approaches, as well as the ability to work with species, phylogenic, ecosystem, taxonomic and diversity data, to assess landscape-scale and regional biodiversity changes associated with land use change, biological invasions, and other human-associated causes of change.
  • Perceptions of Biodiversity Change: Researching how cultural, psychological, and historical influences shape our perceptions, understanding and responses to biodiversity change. We are looking for a person, from any relevant background, with knowledge of, and ability to interpret, a range of research techniques and methodologies      to evaluate how different perceptions and attitudes arise and are maintained among people from different places, in certain groups of people over time, or in different societal groups (e.g., different schools of thought within science, different political affiliations). This research could also consider the extent to which attitudes influence human behaviour, such as in conservation, pest control and exploitation.
  • Governance of Biodiversity Change: Understanding the governance of biodiversity change, focussing your research on the boundaries and barriers that limit positive change. We are looking for a person with knowledge of institutional and multi-criteria approaches and of a range of qualitative and quantitative research techniques and methodologies. The researcher will take into account how environmental dynamics become defined as issues in need of governance and for whom, and how they are controlled and converted into action, so as to identify means of accelerating positive changes in future.
  • History of Power, People and Nature: Exploring the extent to which changes to individual and common rights, accessibility and land ownership have influenced the creation of modern landscapes, and the consequences for biodiversity. We are looking for a person with knowledge in the humanities, social sciences or political ecology, who is interested in land reform and exploring reciprocity between human social development and biodiversity change. Using a range of techniques, methodologies and source materials,      the research will focus on identifying potential synergies between access/exclusion and landscape character, biodiversity, and ecosystem services, identifying potential co-benefits in terms of human welfare and biodiversity.
  • Archaeological and Geographical History of Biodiversity Change: Analysing the consequences of human actions for biodiversity during the Holocene, using archaeological, geographical and biodiversity data approaches. We are looking for a person with knowledge of the history of biodiversity change and its human context, who has highly developed interpretive and analytical skills, including data handling, statistics and spatial analysis. The research will focus on investigating, through a range of appropriate literatures,  the extent to which present-day biodiversity and conservation concerns stem from the historic impacts of humanity on ecosystems. 
  • Ecosystem Service Changes: Identifying the extent to which global and regional ecosystem services can be regarded as co-produced by humanity and ecosystem processes. We are looking for a person with strong analytical skills and knowledge of a range of appropriate economic, social value and biological approaches when assessing ecosystem goods and services, and natural capital.  This research will focus on how humanity has ‘remodelled’ life on Earth to meet our own ecosystem service needs, and thereby increased the Earth’s carrying capacity for humans.
  • Mathematics of Biodiversity Change: Developing mathematical models to assess ecological and evolutionary components of biodiversity change, and their implications for future diversification. We are looking for a person with knowledge of a range of appropriate research techniques and methodologies in dynamical systems, spatial and temporal processes, stochastic processes and evolutionary models, relevant to modelling the development and maintenance of biological diversity. The capacity to use computational approaches to realise mathematical models and a willingness to parameterise and test model predications using data is key. This research will focus on the capacity of humans to accelerate diversification rates as much as on our capacity to reduce diversity.

Skills, Experience & Qualifications needed

You will be motivated by understanding biodiversity change in human-altered environments and the ways in which society has both caused and responded to these changes across time and space. You will have the experience and skills to develop novel research under the mentorship of senior colleagues, you will possess a collaborative ethos, enabling you to identify innovative new research areas and develop proposals for independent or collaborative projects (assessed via your proposed focus of work, submitted at application).

You will have a PhD in a relevant subject area, or equivalent experience, excellent knowledge of your specialism and a strong analytical and/or interpretive skill set relevant to the role(s) you are applying for. You will have a broad knowledge and the capacity to communicate effectively with others from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including writing up research for publication, engaging in public dissemination and collaborating on securing external funding.       

For informal enquiries: please contact Centre Director Professor Chris Thomas or Centre Manager Dr Sally Howlett

The University is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community  – a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

A place where we can ALL be ourselves #EqualityatYork

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


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