Three Postdoc positions in a Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Experiment (Plant Ecology/ Soil Science/ Consumer Community Stability)

Three two-year postdoctoral positions are available within the Jena Experiment Research Unit (www.the-jena-experiment.de) subject to funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The Jena Experiment is a grassland field experiment focused on understanding relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF), one of the most vibrant research areas in ecology. In this experiment, which has been running since 2002, plant diversity is manipulated in roughly 600 experimental grassland plots, and a large number of ecosystem processes and species interactions have been measured.

The value of the Jena Experiment to BEF research has increased over time as the now long-term plots support an unprecedented wealth of data primed for data syntheses work. The experiment offers unique opportunities for collaboration between animal ecologists, plant ecologists, soil ecologists, soil microbiologists, soil chemists, soil hydrologists, and modelers. The next funding phase will focus on within- and across-experiment syntheses and meta-analyses, which will be complemented by a new joint experiment that will mechanistically separate the abiotic and biotic drivers of ecosystem functioning.

We are looking for highly motivated people who are interested in contributing to the synthesis of data and development of theory. We offer an international and interdisciplinary research environment. The Jena Experiment is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action
Employer. To apply for a position, please follow the instructions given in the job descriptions below.

1. Postdoc in Plant Ecology/Biodiversity (Leipzig University)

Responsibilities
Research within the DFG project The Jena Experiment (http://www.the-jena-experiment.de/) focusing on resource complementarity in plant communities with different species richness levels. The project aims to integrate existing evidence on above and belowground measurements to explore a comprehensive picture of complementarity in grassland ecosystems. We will synthesize experimental evidence from different biodiversity experiments in grasslands in a meta-analysis. Moreover, we will compile all trait data available for plants from the Jena experiment and perform a systematic screening of the importance of functional diversity for complementarity in various ecosystem functions and finally combine the results using path analysis. Successful candidates will need to organize a workshop in the beginning, compile, analyze and interpret the data, write publications and present the results at national and international conferences.

Requirements
Ambitious, communicative and motivated researcher with PhD in plant ecology, or related disciplines. The candidate should have a strong interest in process- and system-oriented research, particularly performing syntheses and meta-analyses in R. English fluency is required.

Additional benefits

The research will be carried out within a 2-year project (starting in spring/summer of 2016). Payment will be according to the German standard tariff (100% TV=F6D-E13). We offer an interesting position in an international, interdisciplinary research group at a lively university environment in Leipzig (http://www.zv.uni-leipzig.de/) as well as international working experiences with project partners across Europe and the USA.

Application
Please send your complete application by January 31st 2016 to PD. Dr. Alexandra Weigelt, Systematic Botany and Functional Biodiversity, Institute of Biology, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 21, 04103 Leipzig, mentioning « COMPLEMENTARITY ». Applicants should send their CV, copies of certificates, a statement on motivation and names (with email address) of two references by email – in one single pdf file – to the following two email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected] Further information can be obtained via A. Weigelt ([email protected]).

2. Postdoc in Soil Science/Ecosystem research (University of Tübingen and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT))

Responsibilities
Research of the groups of Prof. Oelmann (Geoecology, University of Tübingen) and Prof. Wilcke (Geomorphology and Soil Science, KIT) within the DFG project The Jena Experiment (http://www.the-jena-experiment.de/) will focus on element fluxes. While the importance of biodiversity for many ecosystem processes has been proven in short-term experiments, it remains unknown which long-term effects exist, particularly with respect to element cycling. We have collected a long-term data series of the concentrations of chemical nitrogen and phosphorus species in ecosystem solutions (rainfall, throughfall, soil solution) in fortnightly resolution since 2002. The Postdoc will be in charge of mathematically decomposing components (event, seasonal, long-term trend) of time series and relate these to plant diversity and other biotic and abiotic variables available in The Jena Experiment. Tasks include gap filling of time series by means of e.g., Bayesian modeling, time series analysis, and interpretation of results. Presentation of the results at national and international conferences and publication in peer-reviewed international journals is expected.

Requirements
Dynamic, serious, and motivated researcher with PhD in Geoecology, Geoscience, Physical Geography, Landscape Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry, Agricultural Sciences, Biology, Geochemistry, or Environmental Chemistry or related disciplines. Strong interest in process- and system-oriented research, particularly in performing syntheses and meta-analyses. The successful candidate should have extended knowledge of biogeochemical processes in ecosystems and the statistical treatment of big data sets with a focus on time series analysis. Good communication skills and commitment to interdisciplinary research particularly focusing on environmental issues are required. Fluency in English and German is required. We particularly encourage female applicants to apply for this position. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal qualification.

Additional benefits
The research will be carried out within a 2-year project (starting as soon as possible in 2016) and will be conducted in Tübingen and Karlsruhe. Payment will be according to the German standard tariff (100% TV=F6D-E13). We offer an interesting position in an international, interdisciplinary research group at a lively university environment in T=FCbingen (www.uni-tuebingen.de) and Karlsruhe (www.kit.edu) as well as international working experiences with project partners across Europe and the USA.

Application
Please send your complete application to Yvonne Oelmann, mentioning « Element cycling ». Applicants should send their CV, copies of certificates, a statement on motivation for studying soil science/ecosystem research and names (with email address) of two references by email – in one single pdf file – to the following email address: [email protected] Evaluation procedure will start February 1st (application deadline January 31st).

3. Postdoc in Consumer Community Stability (Leipzig University and Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

Responsibilities

We seek a post-doctoral candidate to undertake data synthesis focused on testing hypotheses related to how changes in plant diversity influence the 1) temporal and 2) structural stability of consumer communities. Work in this project will reflect a convergence of community and food web ecology and it will address one of the most important questions facing ecologists today: How do how changes in plant diversity influence the ability of ecosystems to support the diversity of consumers in above- and belowground communities?

Requirements
Applicants with expertise in biodiversity and food web stability are especially encouraged to apply. Applications from scientists with expertise in food web and/or community analyses including, but not limited to, functional diversity metrics, species coexistence theory, and network analyses will be considered. Experience collaborating with empiricists and theoreticians is especially appreciated. Applicants must have an excellent record of publication and strong quantitative skills. Prior experience with international working groups is desirable.

Additional benefits and application
The successful candidate will work as part of our collaborative team based primarily at Leipzig University (http://jeshines.foodwebecology.com/) and Friedrich Schiller University Jena (http://anneebeling.weebly.com/publications.html), which both contribute to the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany. These institutions are among the top in the world for detailed species diversity data sets, data synthesis, and international working groups. The working environment is highly interactive and provides many opportunities for collaborations and professional development. The position offers a 100% German standard tariff TV-13 salary for two years. Applications are due 31 January. Pending funding from the DFG, the ideal starting time for the position will be in May 2016. To apply, email a cover letter stating your research accomplishments and interests, a curriculum vitae, two representative publications, and the names and contact information for three references to: Drs. Jes Hines ([email protected]) and Anne Ebeling ([email protected]).

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