Postdoctoral position in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Exchange of VOCs

Postdoctoral position in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Exchange of VOCs


A post doc position is available within a new Center of Excellence, Center for Volatile Interactions (VOLT), which is being established at Terrestrial Ecology Section, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen. The initial appointment is for 2 years with a possibility for extension, and the starting date is March 1st, 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.


Research project

Plants defend themselves against insect herbivory by releasing climate-relevant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the atmosphere. Herbivore damage alters VOC emission blends and increases the emission rates from the affected ecosystem to the atmosphere. The total effect of herbivory on VOC fluxes is likely to be considerable, at least periodically, but still this is not accounted for in the current models. The aim of this project is to assess effects of insect herbivory on VOC emissions in the rapidly warming high latitude regions, where herbivory pressure is increasing with climate change. We will quantify ecosystem-scale, branch, stem and forest floor VOC emissions of a Subarctic mountain birch forest during several growing seasons, while monitoring insect herbivory intensity and the environmental conditions. We will also use modeling approaches to assess the importance of herbivory for regional VOC emissions as well as their impacts on atmospheric chemistry under different climate scenarios. This will improve our understanding of the plant-stress-related climate feedbacks.


Scientific environment

The position is available in the Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions Research Group and within the new Center of Volatile Interactions, led by Professor Riikka Rinnan. The group consists of 5-10 other research staff members plus a number of students and is physically located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The group uses state-of-the-science techniques, such as proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass-spectrometry (PTR-TOF-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for measurement of VOC emissions from plants, emissions and uptake by soils, and their exchange at the ecosystem scale. The research project is collaboration with Dr. Roger Seco from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spain and Dr. Thomas Holst, Prof. Lars Eklundh, and Dr. Jing Tang, Lund University, Sweden.


Main tasks and responsibilities

The post doc will participate in the ongoing Eddy Covariance measurements of VOCs and CO2 in a mountain birch forest in Northern Sweden using the PTR-TOF-MS and a CO2 analyser. The gas flux measurements are coupled to remote sensing of the vegetation phenology using spectral censors and surface temperatures using thermal imaging. The post doc can also participate in branch/stem/forest floor measurements in the forest as well as modeling. We have already collected data since 2021, so data processing, interpretation, and statistical analyses will form a primary task for the post doc. The actual focus area will be agreed upon based on the expertise and interests of the applicant.


The successful candidate will be responsible for lead-writing and co-authoring scientific publications. The candidate will also have the opportunity to supervise MSc students.



We are looking for ambitious and highly motivated candidates with a PhD in biology/ecology, physical geography, meteorology, chemistry, or a related field. Fluency in written and spoken English is a requirement, as well as excellent writing skills demonstrated by the publication record. A successful candidate has some experience either with eddy covariance measurements of trace gases (e.g. CO2) or with plant VOC measurements using GC-MS or PTR-MS techniques. Skills and interest in programming, data processing, and multivariate statistics are assets. The candidate can take decisions independently, but she/he is also comfortable working in teams and has a collaborative mindset.


For enquiries about the position, please contact Professor Riikka Rinnan (


Foreign applicants may find these resources useful: (International Staff Mobility).


How to apply

Applications must be in English, submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below, and include:

  • A cover letter describing motivation, project-related research experience and personal qualities.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Complete list of publications
  • Pdf files of the two most important publications
  •  Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)


The deadline for applications is December 4, 2022, 23:59 GMT+1.



After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at


Terms of employment 

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Riikka Rinnan


Application deadline: 04-12-2022
Employment start: 01-03-2023
Department/Location: Department of Biology

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