Department of Ecology

The postdoc position is based at the Department of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), where we conduct research on populations, communities and ecosystems. We generate knowledge on how land use and climate affect animals, plants, nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas balance, seeking solutions to mitigate climate change, preserve threatened species, benefit biological diversity and ecosystem services in managed landscapes. Active outreach and frequent dialogue with stakeholders are key activities. To generate cutting-edge research and to promote sustainable natural resource management, we build on extensive national and international research collaborations.

Image analysis, drone, satellite, wildlife damages to crops

The postdoc position takes place within a project funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which aims to develop a machine learning based image recognition method to identify and quantify wildlife-caused damages in crops. Data will be collected from drones and satellites and matched against field measurements, the final goal being to develop solutions for a National wildlife damage survey in agriculture.

The purpose of our research is therefore to develop an automized application aiming to estimate the area, yield loss and the spatial distribution of wildlife damages in agriculture that will be implemented in a National monitoring system. When implemented, generated data will be used in national policy plans and damage prevention actions, and eventually improve our understanding of where and when different ungulate species damage different crops. Finally, if possible, indicators to be used in an early warning system should be developed.


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD (preferably within 3 yrs) who will 1) develop machine learning-based regression models to locate areas of damaged crops, 2) develop machine learning-based classification models to discriminate the causes of damages (wildlife, water, drought, insects, etc.) and 3) analyze the spatial patterns of crop damages (distance to roads, farms, woods, etc.) The research will involve several wildlife species, but with an emphasis on large ungulates and particularly wild boar. The project is interdisciplinary, being both intensive in quantitative modelling and requiring an ability to understand ecology, technology and agriculture and their use by different stakeholders.


PhD degree with a specialization in remote sensing or spatial statistics with some experience in ecology or agriculture. A professional level fluency in English and a demonstrated ability to use computer programming languages for scientific analysis (such as R or Python) are required. Experience in machine learning, image analysis, or engineering system sciences, Bayesian inference, wildlife ecology and scholarly publishing is an advantage. Ability and experience to inform and communicate with diverse stakeholders such as authorities, farmers and other stakeholders is also a merit. Interpersonal skills will form an important part of the candidate selection.

Place of work:

Grimsö, Sweden. With a possible agreement to spend time in Uppsala and Umeå, Sweden.

Form of employment:

Fixed-time employment (2 years).

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