BES Forest Ecology Group

A British Ecological Society Special Interest Group

PhD position: Soil moisture in a tropical forest

By Nadja Rüger

Doctoral fellowship on “Quantifying the soil moisture niche in a species-rich tropical forest community



The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) is one of six National Research Centres funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). It is located in the city of Leipzig and jointly hosted by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU), the University of Leipzig (UL), and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). It is supported by the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz Association, the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the Free State of Saxony. Its central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory in this emerging field. The concept of iDiv encompasses the detection of biodiversity, understanding its emergence, exploring its consequences for ecosystem functions and services, and developing strategies to safeguard biodiversity under global change.


We offer you a PhD position, affiliated with the University of Leipzig and supervised by Dr. Nadja Rüger and Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth.

Initially limited to 2 years, 65 percent of a full-time employment

Salary: Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L

Job description

  • quantification of the response of demographic rates of the tree species to soil moisture
  • identification of functional traits relevant for moisture control
  • assessment of the relevance of species’ niche differences for coexistence
  • measurements of soil moisture across a 50-ha forest plot in Panama
  • calibration of a topographic wetness index based on microtopography

Requirements/Expected profile

  • a master’s degree in a relevant field of research
  • interest in biodiversity research, ecological theory and tropical rain forest ecology
  • willingness to carry out field work (3 months) in Panama and to collaborate with local researchers and field assistants
  • basic knowledge of statistical methods and preferably R
  • proficiency in advanced statistical methods is a plus
  • computer programming skills, preferably C++, are a plus
  • working knowledge of Spanish is a plus


Applications including a letter of motivation, Curriculum Vitae, certificates, and one letter of recommendation are accepted until July 15, 2014.

Applications should be addressed to Dr. Nadja Rüger and submitted in a single PDF file with reference file number (80/2014) to We prefer applications in electronic form, hard copy applications can be sent to German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Deutscher Platz 5e; 04103 Leipzig. For queries on the application process please contact nadja.rü

Applying via email is questionable under data protection law. The sender assumes full responsibility.

Severely disabled persons are encouraged to apply and will be given preference in the case of equal suitability.

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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