Research scientist (Post-Doc) position in Molecular soil biology and ecology: 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 full-time position (currently 39 hours per week) for a Scientist (m/f/d) – Postdoc with expertise in molecular soil biology and ecology for research work within the joint project 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 temporal contract-limitation is based on § 2 (1) S. 2 Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz.

Germany currently has no national-wide comprehensive data on the condition and development of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.Against this background, the joint project will develop a modular monitoring strategy for agricultural landscapes in a 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, protists and metazoans will be developed and exemplified for their monitoring, with temporally and spatially high resolution land use data and already existing data from the Soil Condition Survey (BZE) and a case study on the impact of agricultural tillage practices.

The responsibility for this position relates to the following tasks:

  • developing and applying a soil sampling strategy to study the impact of soil management, land use, and landscape factors on soil organisms
  • organization and implementation of soil sampling campaigns in Germany in cooperation with technical and scientific staff of the Thünen Institute
  • development, testing and application of methods for the extraction of DNA from soil samples and PCR based detection of microorganisms, metazoans and their functional potentials
  • performing bioinformatic analyses to determine the abundance and species richness of soil organisms from soil samples (alpha diversity), differences between samples (beta diversity), and interactions between soil organisms and biotic and abiotic factors, e.g., using network analyses and multivariate statistics
  • collaboration with scientists to develop and establish a database on soil biodiversity as part of the joint project, also with the aim of developing recommendations for the targeted spatial management of agri-environmental
  • preparation of manuscripts for publication in international and national scientific journals, presentation of results on national and international conferences.

Your profile:

  • university degree (M.Sc., Univ.-Diploma) in Microbiology, Environmental science, Ecology, Agricultural Science of similar disciplines
  • PhD in microbiology, zoology, soil ecology or similar qualification as demonstrated by publications
  • great interest in agricultural / environmental science issues
  • very good knowledge of the molecular ecology of soil organisms and the use of DNA-based methods to characterize their abundance, diversity and function
  • very good knowledge in the use of bioinformatics methods for the analysis of DNA sequences from highthroughput PCR amplicon sequencing
  • very good knowledge of statistical data analysis using R
  • knowledge of soil microbiology and biodiversity indicators in the agricultural landscape is desirable
  • excellent organizational skills, strong capacity for cooperation and team building
  • very good communication skills
  • candidates should be fluent in English (written and spoken) and be proficient in German

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. A part time position is also possible.

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 19-081-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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