Date Posted
11 Oct 2024

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PhD Project
iDiv Halle-Jena-Leipzig

Doctoral Researcher on “Multi-trophic energy fluxes in soil food webs along plant diversity-productivity gradients”

11 Oct 2024

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description

Friedrich Schiller University Jena as the employer offers the following position with workplace in Leipzig and Göttingen from February 1st 2020 onwards:

Doctoral Researcher
on “Multi-trophic energy fluxes in soil food webs along plant diversity-productivity gradients”

(4 years funding- pending on final approval of funding, 65% of full-time employment)
salary: Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L

The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig is a National Research Centre funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Its central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory in this emerging field. It is located in the city of Leipzig and it`s a central institution of the Leipzig University, jointly hosted by the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). More Information about iDiv:

PhD research at iDiv has ample opportunities for inspiration, support and collaboration. Theory in Biodiversity Science (EcoNetLab) is one of the research groups at iDiv. It aims at describing natural communities by network models comprising the species and their interactions. These complex models are used to understand environmental and anthropogenic constraints on biodiversity as well as the consequences of biodiversity changes for ecosystem functions. We offer an international, English-speaking research environment with regular integrative group activities and high-level training in ecological theory, synthesis, advanced statistics and modeling. Our scientific networks offer plenty opportunities for collaborations within iDiv as well as with international research groups. More information on the working group is available under

The FSU Jena seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. Severely disabled persons are encouraged to apply and will be given preference in the case of equal suitability. iDiv is committed to establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive community that collectively supports and implements our mission to do great science. We will welcome, recruit, develop, and advance talented staff from diverse genders and backgrounds.


The Jena Experiment is a DFG Research Unit that explores the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms of long-term biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. The subprojects of the Research Unit aim at exploring variation in community assembly processes and resulting differences in biotic interactions as determinants of the long-term BEF relationship. The unification of evolutionary and ecosystem processes requires collaboration across the subprojects in targeted plant and soil history experiments using cutting-edge technology and will produce significant synergies and novel mechanistic insights into BEF relationships. The Research Unit of the Jena Experiment is uniquely positioned in this context by taking an interdisciplinary and integrative approach to capture whole-ecosystem responses to changes in biodiversity and to advance a vibrant research field. In this context, subproject 6 will will explore (1) how the energy fluxes through the soil food webs change along a gradient in plant diversity, and (2) how these relationships change with soil history and plant history.
One part of the study will be carried out at iDiv in Leipzig (supervision by Ulrich Brose and Nico Eisenhauer) to address energy fluxes across broad functional groups in the Field Experiment and in the Ecotron experiment. A complementary part of the project will be carried out at the University of Göttingen (supervision by Stefan Scheu) to study the structure of the soil food webs and the channeling of energy through them using stable isotope and fatty acid analysis. Differences in energy fluxes to belowground consumers will result in significant feedback effects that will be key to mechanistically explain biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships through multi-trophic interactions. For more information see

Job description:

• Field work and lab work on soil communities;
• Developing quantitative statistical models on energy fluxes through soil food webs;
• Identification of soil animals;
• Analyze the structure of soil food webs using stable isotope an fatty acid analysis;
• Write scientific papers on the project in internationally peer-reviewed journals;
• Present the research at national and international meetings.


We are searching for applicants with interest in conceptual thinking about ecosystems and a clear drive to develop quantitative models of ecological systems. Basic knowledge in programming languages (e.g. R or another interpreting language) are necessary for the project, skills in more advanced programming languages such as C are advantageous but not strictly necessary. The following points describe the expected profile:
• necessary degree for starting a PhD in biology or ecology (Masters or equivalent);
• knowledge of ecological theory;
• work experience with ecological networks such as food webs is desirable;
• excellent communication skills in English – writing and speaking.

How to Apply

Kindly send your application in English with reference file number 314/2019 via our application portal under Applications are accepted until 15 November 2019. We prefer applications via our application portal, hard copy applications can be sent to: German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Brose, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig. Applications should include a detailed letter of motivation (“why you apply for this position”) with a description of own research interests (“what is driving your interest in ecology”), a curriculum vitae, the contact details of two academic references and copies of the MSc/BSc/Diploma certificates. For queries on the application process, please contact our HR Department (; for project-related questions, kindly contact Ulrich Brose ( Applying via email is questionable under data protection law. The sender assumes full responsibility. Please consider our application information: Please also note the information on the collection of personal data on:ät/Stellenmarkt/Datenschutzhinweis.

Position Category: Medical & Biological Sciences. Position Type: PhD Project.