Modelling the impact of lianas on tropical forest dynamics, Post Doc, Ghent, Belgium


Post Doc position (vegetation modeller)

Modelling the impact of lianas on tropical forest dynamics

This position is opened at CAVElab (UGent) in the framework of two research projects:


CAVElab – Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology (, is a research unit at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University, Belgium. The research unit, is studying vegetation dynamics, carbon and water cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. CAVElab has a broad interest in all types of terrestrial ecosystems, but currently has a strong focus on the ecology of tropical forest ecosystems. Process-based vegetation modelling is the core research tool of the group, but the questions arising from the modelling work require dedicated field work activities. These field work activities are focused on improving uncertain process descriptions within vegetation
models and on data-poor regions like the Congo Basin.

Project - Tropical forests play an essential role in the global carbon cycle and climate system. Lianas are key components of these forests with potentially large impacts on the long term tropical forest carbon balance. However, no single terrestrial ecosystem model currently includes lianas. Within the TREECLIMBERS project we are building such models. You will be working with cohort-based (ED2) and individual-based models to understand how lianas influence tropical forest functioning and to assess for the first time the impact of lianas on the carbon balance of tropical forests.

Your profile:

  • A PhD degree in a relevant field (e.g. forest ecology, biogeochemistry, ecophysiology)
  • Knowledge of ecosystem demography and land surface processes
  • Experience with vegetation modelling (preferably with a forest stand model)
  • A research publication record in your relevant field
  • Knowledge of software development, fluent in programming with FORTRAN or C++.
  • Knowledge of other languages such as R and Python is a plus.
  • Familiar with the linux/unix environment and handling large datasets.
  • A good command of English, both written and oral
  • Willingness to collaborate and be a team player with good communication skills

Our offer:

  • A contract as full-time Post Doc (2 or 3 years)
  • Starting date: as soon as possible
  • The successful candidate will be based in Ghent, but will have the opportunity to visit partner modelling groups in Europe, North and South America
  • Opportunity to contribute to CAVElab field work activities in the tropics
  • Collaboration in a young and dynamic international scientific team

For applications (send CV and motivation letter) or more information:

Prof. dr. ir. Hans Verbeeck | | +32 (0)9 264 61 13

Application deadline: until position is filled