Thursday, 19 November 2009

Two PhD-student positions in plant ecology at the University of Bern, Switzerland

We are seeking two PhD students highly motivated to work on the relationship of land use, plant biodiversity, and plant-related ecosystem processes. The studies will form part of the plant diversity team of the Biodiversity Exploratory project( funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG). The work will involve field work in three diverse regions in Germany, experimental studies in the field, and multi-species experiments in greenhouse and common garden.
The PhD projects will focus on (i) the analysis of land use effects on vegetation and production in grassland and forests, including experimental manipulation of diversity, and (ii) the analysis of functional plant diversity in response to land use.
The positions will be with Prof. Dr Markus Fischer and Dr. Daniel Prati in the Plant Ecology section of the Institute of Plant Sciences of the University of Bern, Switzerland, ( The institute offers a stimulating international research environment and excellent facilities. In addition to projects on plant biodiversity, our group is involved in projects on evolutionary and molecular plant ecology, plant population biology, Alpine ecology and invasion biology. Bern is a beautiful city situated in a beautiful landscape.
The ideal start date is not later than 1 February 2010. The positions are funded by the German Science Foundation for an initial period of 20 months, and we do of course intend to prolong the projects for another 16 months.
Requirements for the positions include a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in biology or a related discipline, a driver’s license, fluency in English and team spirit. Working knowledge in German is advantageous. Ideally, the candidates for these positions should complement each other and have a strong background in population and community ecology, vegetation science, and experimental ecology, and sound knowledge of statistical methods.
Applicants should include a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae and contact details of two references into one pdf-file and email it to Markus Fischer and Daniel Prati (see email addresses below). In the motivation letter the applicant should outline why she or he wants to go for a PhD degree and why she or he wants to work on biodiversity. The applicant should also present details on her or his experimental and statistical skills. The application deadline is December 15, 2009. For more information on this position, the project and research in our lab contact Markus Fischer ( or Daniel Prati (