The University of Helsinki, founded in 1640, is one of the world’s leading universities for multidisciplinary research. The university has an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland.

The Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme (OEB) of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences comprises roughly 40 research groups which employ 40 principal investigators and 120 researchers. The research programme is situated in the Viikki science park. The Organismal and Evolutionary Research Programme invites applications for a Doctoral researcher in Behavioural Ecology or Evolutionary Ecology

The earliest starting date is 1st September 2023. The position is for a fixed term of four years. There will be a trial period of six months in the beginning. The research group of Ulrika Candolin is seeking a highly motivated PhD student to join our research project: ‘Coping with light pollution: integrating behavioural, physiological, and genetic research in the study of the European glow-worm

The aim of the project is to determine the impact of light conditions – both natural and artificial – on the ability of organisms to cope with modern LED lights, and to evaluate the underlying mechanisms, using the glow-worm as the model species. Insights gained will be used to identify measures that can be taken to reduce negative effects of man-made lighting systems on the species and biodiversity in general.

In the European glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca), females emit a bioluminescent signal to attract flying males; they are thus likely to be sensitive to light pollution. We will integrate behavioural, physiological and genetic research to assess their responses to LEDs along three gradients: 1) a latitudinal gradient to evaluate the impact of natural light conditions, 2) an urbanisation gradient to evaluate the impact of earlier exposure to artificial light, and 3) a temporal gradient to evaluate the impact of the time populations have been exposed to artificial light.

We will assess both behavioural and physiological responses to artificial light in experimental work, and determine the genetic underpinnings of the responses by screening for signs of selection across the genome. The research will provide information on the ability of the glow-worms to cope with modern LED lights, both phenotypically and genetically, and the degree to which this depends on past light conditions and exadaptations.

The results will be used to predict the expected trajectory of populations depending on future scenarios of light pollution, and to evaluate changes needed to artificial lighting systems to reduce negative effects on biodiversity. At a more general level, the insights will be used to assess the degree to which information on past conditions can be used to predict species responses to rapid human-induced environmental change.

The salary will be based on the salary system of Finnish Universities with demand levels 1-4. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on the personal performance. The gross salary will be 2200−3000 €/month depending on the stage of the doctoral studies and work performance. Standard Finnish pension benefits, occupational health care and health insurance are provided.

The PhD degree consists of research and studies specific to the discipline, as well as transferable skills training and career orientation and guidance (40 ECTS). The University has 4,700 doctoral students, one-fourth of them international, and awards approximately 500 doctoral degrees annually. The successful candidate will apply for study right in ‘The Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology’ English is the primary language in doctoral education and research.

How to apply:

The application should include the following attachments as a single pdf-file

  • Motivation letter describing your background and motivation to apply for the position (max. 2 page)
  • CV with a list of publications and a brief summary explaining your own contributions
  • Contact information of two referees, who can provide reference letters upon request

Please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply link. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via APPLY NOW below.

The deadline for submitting the application is 21st of July 2023.

For more information, contact


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