Open Positions

URPP Global Change Biodiversity Open Positions

The University of Zurich (UZH) Research Priority Programme (URPP) on Global Change and Biodiversity (GCB) is an established interdisciplinary research program (http://www.gcb.uzh.ch). Biodiversity is both a response variable affected by global change drivers (land use change, climate change, invasions, exploitation, and pollution)  and a factor modifying ecosystem processes and services that are essential to human well-being. An improved capability to predict the consequences of changes in drivers will aid improved prediction of the state of the environment. The URPP GCB implements innovative avenues in this research domain by using a latitudinal gradient approach based on interactions, feedback and scale, to provide a more reliable and robust knowledge of global change processes.

We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent applicants with a passion for science to join our research program. A high standard of written and spoken English is required. We offer outstanding working conditions, a high quality of life in Zurich, and an excellent support environment. The position start is as soon as a suitable candidate is found. Salaries correspond to the UZH regulations of PhD salaries. We invite applications for the following PhD positions:

Ref URPP-GCB-FA-17-01: Integrating environmental DNA (eDNA) and remote sensing to assess fundamental biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

We are looking for a motivated candidate, capable of integrating two emerging research fields, namely environmental DNA (eDNA)-based diversity assessments using high throughput sequencing (HTS) and remote-sensing based assessments of plant diversity and related carbon stocks and fluxes. We therefore invite applications for a PhD position integrating eDNA and remote sensing research to fundamentally assess biodiversity.

This project builds on recent advances in molecular and remote sensing techniques, creating novel opportunities to assess biodiversity in a unifying and scalable way. Individually, eDNA and remote sensing offer unprecedented temporal and spatial resolutions of biodiversity information. The goal of this PhD project is to develop and test an integration of both approaches in a set of well-defined natural ecosystems, to get unified measures of biodiversity and ecosystem processes. You will assess and link biodiversity and ecosystem processes in a series of well-defined test sites using eDNA and remote sensing with a focus on tree diversity, decomposer diversity, and carbon stocks and fluxes. The ultimate goal is to upscale and predict diversity at the landscape level.

The successful applicant will be based in Zurich and embedded in a supervisory team including Prof. Dr. Florian Altermatt (http://homepages.eawag.ch/~altermfl/Home.html), and Prof. Dr. Michael Schaepman (http://www.geo.uzh.ch/geolean/en/department/entire-staff-list/?content=michaelschaepman). You will work in the Dep. of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental studies and the Dep. of Geography, and Eawag: The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. All of them host several research groups working on a variety of topics assessing the key drivers of global change and biodiversity.

To apply, all applicants must have a completed master’s degree in Ecology, Molecular Ecology, Geosciences or a closely related science field. Applicants must have previous laboratory and bioinformatics experience in eDNA or HTS approaches, and ideally should have some knowledge on spatial or remote-sensing based data analysis. Experience in programing and bioinformatics skills is an asset.

Please send your application (including position reference URPP-GCB-FA-17-01) as one single PDF file (motivation letter, complete CV, and names of 2 references) to isabel.schoechli@uzh.ch. Selection of candidates will begin 1 April 2017 and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. For further questions, please contact florian.altermatt@ieu.uzh.ch or Michael.schaepman@geo.uzh.ch

Ref URPP-GCB-MES-17-02: Remote sensing of genetically relevant forest traits

We are looking for a motivated candidate, capable of doing research at the disciplinary boundaries of geoecology, genetics and remote sensing. We therefore invite applications for a PhD position in remote sensing of genetically relevant forest traits.

This project will link remotely sensed trait information of forests across a range of forested test sites (ranging from boreal over temperate to tropical) to phylogenies and genetic structure to infer partial taxonomies of regional communities. Remote sensing technologies to be used include imaging spectroscopy and laser scanning across a range of scales.

The successful applicant will be based in Zurich and embedded in a supervisory team including Michael Schaepman (http://www.geo.uzh.ch/geolean/en/department/entire-staff-list/?content=michaelschaepman), and Felix Morsdorf (http://www.geo.uzh.ch/geolean/en/department/entire-staff-list/?content=felixmorsdorf) You will work in the Department of Geography, which hosts several research groups working on a variety of topics assessing the key drivers of global change and biodiversity.

To apply, all applicants must have a completed master’s degree in environmental science, geoecology, remote sensing or a closely related science field. Applicants must be able to work with statistical tools and scripting languages (i.e. Python, Matlab, R). Experience in doing lab work (e.g. HPLC, microsatellites) is an asset.

Please send your application (including position reference URPP-GCB-MES-17-02) as one single PDF file (motivation letter, complete CV, and names of 2 references) to isabell.schoechli@uzh.ch Selection of candidates will begin 1 April 2017 and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. For further questions, please contact michael.schaepman@geo.uzh.ch or felix.morsdorf@geo.uzh.ch.

Ref URPP-GCB-OP-17-01: Ecological forecasting.

One of the most pressing challenges facing biodiversity science is to make and deliver local, regional, and global forecasts across scales of ecological organisation. Such forecasts can assist decision making, and drive fundamental research about the patterns and processes structuring biodiversity. Altered environmental conditions, include those driven by global change, further motivate biodiversity forecasting research. This project will use diverse data sources from URPP GCB test sites and infrastructures, and analytical tools to explore and advance the current limits of biodiversity forecasting through time, space, and environmental conditions.

The successful applicant will be based in Zurich in the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, and be supervised by Owen Petchey, Jordi Bascompte, Florian Altermatt, and other project associates.

To apply, all applicants must have a completed master’s degree in ecology, environmental sciences or a closely related science field. Experience in working with existing diverse datasets, in conducting experimental work, and in data analysis (ideally time series analysis) will be an asset.

Please send your application (including position reference URPP-GCB-OP-17-01) as one single PDF file (motivation letter, complete CV, and names of 2 references) to Owen Petchey (owen.petchey@ieu.uzh.ch).