Applications are invited for a four-year PhD fellowship in the research group of Marjo Saastamoinen as part of the ERC funded META-STRESS project (Starting Grant scheme). The successful applicant will join the Centre of Excellence in Metapopulation Research at the University of Helsinki.

The PhD project aims to understand the life-history responses and underlying mechanisms that allow organisms to cope with environmental stress in the wild. The large metapopulation of the Glanville fritillary (Melitaea cinxia) butterfly gives a unique opportunity to study processes operating from genes within individuals all the way to metapopulation-level dynamics (> 20 years of data). The PhD project will focus on individual variation in stress tolerance within and among local populations and the role of local adaption. In addition you will assess the impact of stress tolerance on other key-life-history traits. There is also potential to use recently developed genomic tools to identify mechanisms involved in stress tolerance.

In practice, you will carry out field work in the Åland Islands archipelago (SW Finland) and conduct experimental work in the laboratory and under semi natural field conditions. You are expected to present your findings in scientific meetings and workshops, as well as prepare publications for international scientific journals.

Motivated students with a MSc degree in ecology, evolutionary biology or molecular biology (or other related fields) are encouraged to apply. Prior expertise in experimental design, statistical analysis or laboratory work are a bonus but your most important assets are enthusiasm for research, motivation to learn new things, and ability to work independently while being an active member of a research team.

Please send your application to by 16 February 2015 with title PhD META-STRESS. Attach a CV (with possible publications included), a copy of your transcript records (printout of the courses you’ve completed during your MSc), contact details of two references (e.g. MSc thesis supervisor), and a letter (MAX 1 page) with a description of your researcher interests and why you would be a suitable candidate for the project.

The salary will be based on level 2 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. All standard pension benefits and occupational health care are provided for university employees.

The work is scheduled to start in the spring/early summer 2015. For more information, please contact Dr Marjo Saastamoinen ( and visit the website at

For information on the University of Helsinki, please visit: