Postdoctoral Researcher on Open-science tools for monitoring ecosystem extents


German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) / Leipzig University, Germany


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Start Date

Sunday, September 1, 2024

Position Description

The successful candidate will conduct research to contribute key components to an envisioned cloud-based toolbox that enables countries to do ecosystem-extent mapping and monitoring, by developing new methodological protocols and data resources while leveraging pre-existing data and tools. The main focus areas of the contributions to that toolbox will be on: 

  • developing a data-cube of analysis-ready time-series on multiple ecosystem characteristics needed to map terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems, along with input data (remote sensing, in-situ, modelled); incl. developing and extending protocols and computational pipelines for data assembly, harmonization and quality-assurance (e.g. bias-corrections of remote sensing products), and integrating conflicting data under explicit consideration of uncertainties 
  • developing pipelines for the validation of ecosystem-extent/-change maps with heterogeneous reference data and for pixel-level uncertainty estimation, and applying these protocols to several national and regional showcase

We offer a two-year postdoctoral position at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), which is a central institution of Leipzig University (Germany). The project is supervised by Dr Carsten Meyer (head of iDiv’s Macroecology & Society (MAS) group).

Background on the WEED ProjectChanges in ecosystem extents are a key component of global environmental change with many consequences for humans and nature. Correspondingly, many intergovernmental conventions require information on ecosystem extent dynamics. While advances in data, modelling and computational tools promise high-quality, accessible ecosystem data, challenges remain in data integration, processing and comparability, and in fostering ownership and trust by end-users of ecosystem products. The World Ecosystem Extent Dynamics (WEED) project, led by an international consortium of experts in ecosystem mapping and funded by the European Space Agency, seeks to address these challenges. Collaborating with end-users on four continents, the project will develop a globally applicable, open-source and fully cloud-based toolbox to enable users to generate comprehensive maps of terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystem extents and their changes. The envisioned toolbox will support national governments and monitoring institutions with different technical and financial capacities in their ecosystem monitoring and management needs.

The specific postdoctoral position announced here will develop key components of this toolbox and involve collaborations within the larger consortium, including researchers at the Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO), the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and University of Bonn, among others.

What we offer

  • A 2-year postdoc position in a highly dynamic, collaborative and interdisciplinary working environment; note that postdoctoral salaries are generous relative to cost of living in Leipzig, and benefits like health insurance and pension plans are standard 
  • Career-building support, incl. proposal writing, teaching opportunities and voluntary participation in iDiv’s postdoc career support programme Networking opportunities with experts in the project consortium and at iDiv, and through ties to international networks engaged on ecosystem mapping/monitoring, incl. the GEO Global Ecosystems Atlas, GEO BON’s Ecosystem Structure Working Group, and CEOS Ecosystem Extent Task Team 
  • Access to extensive pre-existing data resources on ecosystem types and other relevant variables (land use/cover, etc.), along with associated modelling and data-processing scripts, linked to powerful High-Performance Computing (HPC) resources 
  • The working language at iDiv is English. iDiv is a highly international centre with employees from ~40 countries and various forms of support for employees from outside of Germany (Welcome Centre, German classes, etc.). Leipzig is an attractive city with rich culture and beautiful surroundings, and international visitors usually find it easy to settle in.

iDiv is committed to establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive community that collectively supports and implements our mission to do great science. We welcome, recruit, develop and advance talented staff from diverse genders and backgrounds.