Postdoctoral position: Photodegradation of methyl mercury in boreal lakes

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


February 28, 2022


Department of Forest Ecology and Management

We announce a two year Postdoc. position in mercury (Hg) biogeochemistry at the department of forest ecology and management.The department includes about 100 people of which 11 are professors. Our mission is to advance the understanding of forest ecosystem processes and to progress the principles of forest ecosystem management.

For more information: https:// www. management/

Mercury (Hg) is a globally spread pollutant having severe negative consequences on wildlife and human populations. Important biogeochemical are the transformation of inorganic Hg to the bio-accumulating form of methyl mercury (MeHg) and its degradation back to inorganic Hg. This is very critical, because MeHg is considered one of the most toxic compounds in our environment, having detrimental effects on the nervous system and its development in organisms, including humans.

The position is funded by the research council FORMAS with the aim to determine rates of methyl mercury (MeHg) photodegradation in boreal lake waters. The current perception is that the light- driven degradation of MeHg is the quantitatively most important sink for MeHg in forest-wetland-lake ecosystems. The degradation process decreases the lake water concentration and thus the availability of MeHg to be taken up in aquatic food-webs. Yet, the process remains to be fully understood and quantified in different types of lakes. A critical role is played by natural organic matter (NOM), having both promoting and inhibiting effects on the MeHg degradation process. The project is a collaboration between The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Prof. U Skyllberg), Umeå University (Prof. E Björn), Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (Dr. A. B. Garcia) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (Prof. A Lindfors).


In this project the post-doc will contribute to the development and evaluation of a model for MeHg degradation, based on data collected in field experiments of lakes. The experiments will cover boreal lakes with different character and their seasonality features. At selected sites, the incoming sunlight will be measured and modeled. The project also includes laboratory controlled experimental studies of the MeHg photodegradation process, conducted to improve models


Successful candidates will have a PhD in (bio)geochemistry, preferably with a focus on the environmental fate of mercury, or closely related fields. Scientific experience in the field of photochemistry is considered meritorious. The project includes both practical work in the field and laboratory work, so experiences of field work with lakes, as well as of laboratory experiments, is considered advantageous. We demand a documented capability of autonomous scientific research work and skills in writing scientific publications and reports in English. In addition, the postdoctoral researcher is expected to participate in scientific discussions taking place during regular meetings within the collaborating research group community covering different aspects of Hg biogeochemistry in different environments such as lakes, sediments and peatland soils. Very good command of the English language, both written and spoken, is required.

As postdoctoral appointments are career-developing positions for junior researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a doctoral degree that is three years old at most.

Place of work:


Form of employment:

Temporary employment, 24 months



Starting date:

According to agreement.


We welcome your application no later than February 28 2022, use the button below.

Your application should contain: (1) Cover letter summarizing your skills would be a benefit for the research project, (2) Curriculum Vitae, (3) Publication list, (4) Transcripts of relevant degree certificates and publications, and (5) Contact details of 2-3 references.

Academic union representatives:

https: // vid-rekrytering/

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses.


Contact person

Ulf Skyllberg