Postdoctoral Researcher in Lake and Phytoplankton Modelling

Uppsala University Department of Ecology and Genetics

Postdoctoral Researcher in Lake and Phytoplankton Modelling

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 46.000 students, 7.300 employees and a turnover of SEK 7.3 billion.

The Department of Ecology and Genetics is an international environment with staff and students from all over the world. Our research spans from evolutionary ecology and genetics to studies of ecosystems. For more information, see

The Limnology department carries out research in aquatic community ecology, microbial ecology, and biogeochemistry.  Our research focus on both basic understanding of the ecology of lakes as well as applied research that can aid lake and reservoir management. The Lake Erken field station has a long record of limnological research, including a lake monitoring program. 

Project description: The candidate will participate in the European Union sponsored project BLOOWATER that is evaluating methodologies and strategies to allow drinking water utilities to better cope with the consequences of increasingly frequent cyanobacteria blooms.  As part of this project the candidate will assist in evaluating different modelling methods that can potentially be used to forecast the probability of bloom formation, which in turn could be used to prepare for changes in water treatment.

Three methods will be evaluated. 
1) The use of process based models that predict the occurrence of generic cyanobacteria groups.
2) The use of machine learning algorithms fed by measurements from available lake monitoring data and trained on observations of measured phytoplankton concentrations. 3) A hybrid approach of 1 and 2 which includes biophysical data (water temperature, mixing rates light levels etc.) from the process based simulations into the machine learning algorithms.  Model development and testing will be done using data from lakes Erken, and Mälaren, in Sweden and Lakes Albano and Castreccioni in Italy. 

The postdoctoral candidate will work as part of a group also consisting of MSc and PhD. Students.  It is expected that the candidate will work to assist all members of the group to achieve common goals, and that the candidate will take a lead role in developing studies related to the BLOOWATER project.


  • Running existing hydrothermal and water quality model set up for Lake Erken, and developing model setups for other lakes of interest
  • Develop processed based algorithms and optimization methods that will improve model performance when simulating the occurrence of cyanobacteria.
  • Develop and test machine learning algorithms that predict the occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms. Apply these using data from all lakes used for the BLOOWATER project.
  • Evaluate the possibilities of using data from process based simulations to improve machine learning algorithms.

Qualifications required: To qualify for an employment as a postdoctor you must have a PhD degree or a foreign degree equivalent to a PhD degree in limnology, oceanography, civil engineering, environmental science, or a related subject”. The PhD degree must have been obtained no more than three years prior to the application deadline. The three year period can be extended due to circumstances such as sick leave, parental leave, duties in labour unions, etc. We attach great importance to personal qualities such as the ability to work both independently and as part of an active research group. Candidates must be able to express themselves excellently in spoken as well as written English.

Qualifications desired:

  • Experience in developing machine learning applications using commonly available open source software such as Tensorflow/Keras, or PyTorch
  • Experience with numerical lake modes
  • Literate in computer programing – experience in R and/or PYTHON and/or FORTRAN a plus
  • Ability to manipulate and analyze large data sets produced by numerical models.
  • Interest in societal issues related to climate change and water management.

Salary: Individual salary.

Starting date: 2020-12-01, or as agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position for 24 months, according to central collective agreement.

Scope of employment: 100%.

For further information about the position please contact: Don Pierson,, +46 18 471 5399

Application: The application should include 1) a letter of intent describing yourself, your research interests and motivation of why you want to work as a postdoctoral researcher/fellow and why you are suitable for the position, 2) a CV 3) a short description of your education, 4) a copy of your PhD degree, your grades and a copy of your thesis, 5) name and contact information to at least two reference persons (e-mail address and phone no.), 6) relevant publications. 

You are welcome to submit your application no later than Oct, 30 2020. UFV-PA 2020/3386

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Ecology and Genetics

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2020/3386

Last application date: 2020-10-30

Login and apply