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PhD-student position (vegetation modeller) - Belgium  

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Posted on : 13 May 2017

Project Description

  •  Modelling the impact of lianas on tropical forest dynamics 
  • The research unit, is studying vegetation dynamics, carbon and water cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. 
  • CAVElab has a broad interest in all types of terrestrial ecosystems, but currently has a strong focus on the ecology of tropical forest ecosystems. 
  • Process-based vegetation modelling is the core research tool of the group, but the questions arising from the modelling work require dedicated field work activities. These field work activities are focused on improving uncertain process descriptions within vegetation models and on data-poor regions like the Congo Basin. 
  • Project - Tropical forests play an essential role in the global carbon cycle and climate system.
  • Lianas are key components of these forests with potentially large impacts on the long term tropical forest carbon balance. 
  • However, no single terrestrial ecosystem model currently includes lianas. 
  • Within the TREECLIMBERS project we are building such models. You will be working with cohort-based (ED2) and individual-based models to understand how lianas influence tropical forest functioning and to assess for the first time the impact of lianas on the carbon balance of tropical forests.   

Profile of the candidate  
  • A MSc degree in a relevant field (Bio-Engineering, Physics, Geosciences, Environmental sciences, Computer Science Engineering, or equivalent degree) 
  • Motivation to do a PhD and write scientific publications 
  • A keen interest in forest ecology 
  • Knowledge of software development, fluent in programming with FORTRAN or C++. 
  • Knowledge of other languages such as R and Python is a plus. 
  • Familiar with the linux/unix environment and handling large datasets. 
  • A good command of English, both written and oral 
  • Willingness to collaborate and be a team player with good communication skills