Doctoral studies in Ecology, Environmental Science and Physical Geography

The research at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science covers a wide range of subjects within the doctoral programmes Ecology, Environmental Science and Physical Geography. We have 32 PhD students. More than 20 of them comes from abroad: Germany, China, Spain, USA, Denmark, Poland, Brazilia, Czech Republic, Italy, France, iceland and Japan.

We do work on everything from biogeochemical, hydrological and geomorphological processes to the evolution, chemical composition, behaviour, interaction and spread of various organisms. We also study the biodiversity of many different species groups and the effects of human intervention, the ways various nature types interact as well as landscape features from current and historical perspectives.

We use a broad spectrum of methods, such as mathematics models, laboratory and field experiments and long-term environmental monitoring. The scale varies from the molecular to the global. Our research is focused on the northern ecosystems but also touches upon ecosystems on other latitudes and questions of global importance.

We want to understand how ecosystems function without human intervention and how things like forestry, dams that regulate the flow of streams, pollution, overfishing, foreign organisms and ecological restoration have affected and will affect the biodiversity and function of ecosystems in mountains, forests, lakes, rivers and seas.

The effects of global climate change is an important research area, whether these effects are natural or man-made. Two major projects concerning the sea and restoration ecology have climate change as the overall theme. The activities at the Abisko research station are also to a great extent aimed at changes in the climate.

Research is done within more or less organised research teams and in cooperation with many other researchers and institutions around the world. Our research on changes in ecosystems has been identified by the faculty as a particularly strong research environment.

Research at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science:


New thesis

Pathogenic bacteria train their defence in lakes and oceans

Pathogenic bacteria train their defence in lakes and oceans

Peter Mathisen at Umeå University has found links between the aquatic environment and the spreading of diseases such as tularaemia. The results indicate that aquatic environments act as “gyms” for bacteria, where the presence of predators train their defence against being killed and eaten up. The results are important for assessments of aquatic environments at risk of spreading pathogenic bacteria. On April 28 Peter Mathisen successfully defended his thesis. Read more

Top Research News

Stabilt klimat ger fler fågelarter

Stabilt klimat ger fler fågelarter

Fler arter av fåglar har uppkommit eller överlevt i områden med stabilt klimat jämfört med områden där klimatet har förändrats genom årmiljonerna. Det visar en ny studie där Umeå universitet har medverkat. Read more

Director of PhD-studies

Christer Nilsson
institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap/Department of Ecology and Environmental Science

Tel:  +46(0)90-786 60 03

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