Monday, 1 June 2009

Ph D scholarship available inProject Invasion Biology

The Swiss Federal Research Institute Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, located in Zürich, is looking for a highly motivated PhD student to join the biosafety group. This group is responsible for all aspects in research and implementation of biosafety issues related to or-ganisms used in biological control, to genetically modified plants and to invasive arthropods. The incumbent will work on a project funded by the Swiss Federal office for the Environment ( in collaboration with the University of Fribourg (
Invasive alien species are regarded as one of the major threats to biodiversity. Invasion is a process involving several steps. The routes followed by invaders and processes enabling their survival and reproduction after arrival have received little attention. Sound knowledge on the initial dispersal stage is particularly important as early detection and eradication is considered the most cost-effective approach to reduce the negative impact of invasive species.
Ever-growing human travel, tourism and trade erased barriers between previously isolated geographical regions and facilitate the movement of animals and plants across bio-geographic regions. The worldwide airline transportation network contributes to unwanted species movement by providing frequent transportation, mostly of small organisms such as insects, along numerous routes. Climate, especially temperature has a strong and direct influence on insect development, reproduction and survival. A fundamental requirement for the establishment of any species outside its home range is that the potential invaded range must have suitable climatic conditions for the invader. Like invasive species, climate change is thought to represent a major threat to ecological equilibrium. Predicted climatic changes are expected to increase / decrease the geographical range, affect phenology, and influence the growth rate and development time of several species. Surprisingly, invasive species and! cli-mate change have largely been studied independently. The proposed project aims to identify pests and pathways (cargo type and origin) that are posing a high risk to European agriculture and ecosystems under current and future climates. This knowledge could be used to tailor inspection schemes and monitoring plans at and around airports for early detection, and to develop action plans for eradication campaigns for the most likely pest organisms. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with a research group at the University of Fribourg (Sven Bacher) as well as different international partners.
Applicants for the PhD position should hold a masters degree in Biology or Agronomy. Knowledge or expertise in applied entomology, statistical multivariate analyses, climate-matching tools (e.g. CLIMEX), large database management and interest in independent re-search and team work would be relevant. Good oral and written communication skills in Eng-lish are expected.
Total duration of the project is 3 years. The doctoral thesis will be done as a series of English manuscripts. The working place will be the Agroscope ART research station close to Zurich (
Start of the project: To be discussed
ApplicationsIf you are interested, please send your CV, certificates, and the names (with E-mail address) of potential referees per E-mail to Dr. Alexandre Aebi, Agroscope ART, Reckenholzstr. 191, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland, E-mail:
The deadline for application is June 30, 2009.
For further information, please contact Dr. Alexandre Aebi via E-mail or phone (+41-44-3777669).

1 comment:

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