Postdoctoral Researcher, Evolution in Urban Environments

We, at the University of Oulu, work as part of the international science community to produce new scientific information and science-based solutions. We are committed to educate future pioneers to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world. Creating new, taking responsibility and succeeding together build strong foundation in all our actions. We offer a working environment where individuals can cultivate their skills, do meaningful work, and develop professionally. Our university’s several specialized research and service units enable extensive and diverse development and career opportunities for experts in various fields.

We are now looking for a highly motivated and enterprising

Postdoctoral Researcher for Evolution in Urban Environments

to join our Department of Ecology and Genetics at the University of Oulu (, Finland.

Project description

Cities grow globally at an accelerating pace. Environmental change due to urbanization is expected to increasingly affect the evolution of extant species, potentially in a climate-dependent way. Yet, the evolutionary consequences of urbanization remain poorly understood, which is a significant problem in evolutionary biology. A few specific and conspicuous examples, however, demonstrate that urbanization-induced evolution takes place, industrial melanism in moths being the classical example of urban adaptation. This project will use a macro-scale approach to comprehensively examine urban adaptation and its climate-dependency by using Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) as study system. The project focuses on four aspects of evolution in urban environments: (1) life history adaptations to urban environments, (2) adaptations to light pollution, (3) physiological adaptations to the urban thermal environment, and (4) the origins of urban adaptations.

The project is financed by Academy of Finland. Principal Investigator of the project is Dr. Sami Kivelä (University of Oulu, Finland). The project includes collaboration with Dr. Marko Mutanen (University of Oulu), Dr. Thomas Merckx (Free University of Brussels, Belgium), Prof. Toomas Tammaru (University of Tartu, Estonia), Dr. Karl Gotthard and Dr. Philipp Lehmann (Stockholm University, Sweden), Dr. Peter Huemer (Tiroler Landesmuseen, Austria), and Dr. Tomáš Kadlec (Czech University of Life Sciences, Czech Republic).

You will participate in studies addressing all the research themes of the project. A lot of samples and experimental data already exist, and your responsibilities as a recruited postdoctoral researcher include processing of samples (e.g. morphometric measurements of moth specimens), analysing data and reporting results in collaboration with the rest of the research team members. There will also be a possibility to analyse population genetic (ddRADseq) data, to do some field work and run further experiments. You will also have teaching duties at the department at most 5% of working time.

Qualification and selection criteria

We expect you to have

PhD in evolutionary biology, ecology, genetics or related fields. Please note that your degree should be obtained within the last 10 years, latest by the start of the employment.
Excellent English communication skills
Previous experience on experimental work on insects and morphometric image analyses
Experience and knowledge of population genetics, genomics, lepidopterology, life history evolution, behavioral ecology, statistics and using the R environment is considered as an advantage.

Duration and terms of employment

The earliest possible start date is the 1st of December 2021, but there is room for negotiation. Preferably, the start would be no later than in February 2022. Funding for the position exists until the 31st of August 2023.

Salary will be in accordance with the Finnish universities salary system (for teaching and research personnel) and will be based on demand level 5 – 6. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component). Typical salary being approx. 3400 – 3600 € per month (before taxes). A trial period of six months will be applied in the beginning of employment. Occupational health care is included.

How to apply

The application must be submitted using the electronic application form latest on 31st of October 2021 at 23:59 (Finnish local time) together with:

1) motivation letter where the reasons for interest in this position are clearly indicated (max. 1 page)
2) a full CV formatted according to the guidelines of the Finnish Board of Research Integrity (TENK; see
3) list of publications formatted according to the guidelines of the Academy of Finland (see
4) contact information of at least 2 academic referees and
5) relevant certificates/diplomas

Further information, please contact Sami Kivelä (sami.kivela[at]

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