Research position in Soil Microbiology and Ecology (PhD student): Germany

The Institute of Biodiversity at the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, in Braunschweig is offering a 65 % -position (currently 25,35 hours per week) for a Scientist (m/f/d) – PhD student with expertise in molecular soil microbiology and ecology for research on monitoring biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

The position is limited to a fixed term of three (3) years and is to be filled as soon as possible. The employment is designed to develop own scientific qualifications. The own scientific results achieved in the project can be used for the PhD thesis. The Technical University of Braunschweig can be considered for the doctorate. The temporal contract-limitation is based on § 2 (1) S. 1 Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz.

Germany currently has no national-wide comprehensive data on the condition and development of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Against this background, a modular monitoring of agricultural landscapes will be developed in the new research network. An important component is the soil-living organisms and their ecosystem services. Based on soil DNA analyses, a methodological repertoire for the detection of bacteria, archaea and fungi will be developed for their monitoring and applied to a case study on agricultural tillage and selected samples from other sites in Germany.

In context of this position, there is responsibility for the following tasks:

  • organization and implementation of soil sampling in Germany in cooperation with technical and scientific staff of the Thünen Institute
  • testing and application of methods for extracting DNA from soil samples and for PCR-based detection of microorganisms, as well as their functional potentials
  • performing bioinformatic analyses to determine the abundance and species richness of microbial communities from soil samples (alpha diversity) and the difference between various soil samples (beta diversity)
  • identification and quantification of key abiotic and biotic factors influencing structural and functional microbial diversity through network analysis and multivariate statistics
  • preparation of manuscripts for publication in international and national scientific journals

Your profile:

  • university degree (M.Sc., Univ.-Diploma) which allows to entering a PhD program in the fields of environmental sciences, biology, agricultural sciences or similar disciplines
  • great interest in microbial ecology and agricultural ecology issues
  • excellent knowledge of the molecular ecology of soil organisms and the use of DNA-based methods to characterize their abundance, diversity and function
  • knowledge in the use of bioinformatics methods for the analysis of DNA sequences from high-throughput PCR amplicon sequencing is desired
  • knowledge of statistical data analysis using R is desirable
  •  independent working ability, high organizational talent, strong cooperation capacity
  • very good communication skills
  • candidates should be fluent in English (written and spoken) and have basic knowledge of the German language or the willingness to learn it

We offer work in an active and stimulating scientific environment on questions of high relevance at the intersection between basic and applied life science and agriculture. The project promotes the collaboration and interaction with experts from national and international research organisations. The Thünen Institute offers a family-friendly environment, flexible working hours and the possibility for further training and qualification.

The employment is governed by the Wage Agreement for Public Services (TVöD-Bund). The payment of remuneration is carried out according to tariff-category 13 TVöD. The Thünen Institute promotes the professional equality of women and men and is thus especially interested in applications from women. Severely disabled applicants with equal qualification will be given particular consideration. Only a minimum physical aptitude is expected from them.

Please contact Prof. Dr. Christoph Tebbe (phone: +49 531 596 2553) for enquiries about the position.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and copies of relevant certificates. Electronic submission is preferred.

E-mail all application material (subject 19-083-BD) in a single pdf file no later than 31.03.2019 to:

Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut
Institut für Biodiversität
Prof. Dr. Jens Dauber
Bundesallee 65
38116 Braunschweig

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