PhD position in Community and Ecosystems Ecology

Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)

Dübendorf, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

The Altermatt lab at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies (IEU) of University of Zurich and the Department of Aquatic Ecology of Eawag have a vacancy for a

PhD position in Community and Ecosystems Ecology (4 years)

The position is fully funded for four years and will be based in the group of Prof. Dr. Florian Altermatt. The successful applicant will be a student of the University of Zurich and be part of the PhD Program in Ecology.

Understanding the causes and consequences of biodiversity is among the most challenging goals in ecology. Up to now, almost all work on biodiversity-ecosystem functioning has been conducted in a localized perspective. Natural ecosystems, however, are spatially explicit, and there is substantial flow of material and organisms among patches and ecosystems. Recently, we have started applying the concept of meta-ecosystems to spatially explicit headwater stream networks.

Using existing experience and data as a springboard, we will focus on freshwater macroinvertebrates (amphipods) to study meta-ecosystem dynamics in freshwater streams. Amphipods have a key role in stream ecosystems, linking aquatic and terrestrial habitats by shredding leaf litter. We are especially interested in studying how amphipod communities assemble, and how different species’ ecosystem functions are shaped by interacting effects of habitat network structure, community/food-web dynamics and resource input. The student is explicitly expected and encouraged to contribute and have an active role in the conceptual development of the project, and to be interested in aquatic ecology in a wider sense.

For the project, we offer state-of-the-art infrastructure, access to extensive indoor and outdoor mesocosm facilities as well as access and long-term data from a set of headwater streams that we have been monitoring over the last decade. The planned research project will fit in the wider range of research conducted in the Altermatt lab, involving conceptual and experimental work on meta-ecosystems including theory and microcosm experiments, and environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques. While the latter are not necessarily part of this project, the student is expected to build and link to these capacities and wider interests of the lab.

Competitive applicants ideally have previous experience in community or ecosystems ecology, biodiversity or spatial dynamics. They will be highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent persons with a passion for science. Candidates should have a good conceptual understanding of ecological theory, excellent experimental skills, and interest in doing field work and to link their work with quantitative modelling. Strong statistical skills are expected, and quantitative/theoretical interests and/or skills an asset. Excellent communication and writing skills in English (The working language in the Altermatt lab is English), good work ethics, and creative thinking are a must. A Masters level degree (or equivalent) in Ecology or related subject is necessary for admission.

The Altermatt lab has a shared base at University of Zurich and at Eawag. It offers a stimulating and international research environment, excellent research facilities and a lively and social working place. Zurich hosts many other research groups in ecology and biodiversity research, and is among the world’s leading cities in terms of science, culture and quality of life.

For further information, consult or directly contact Prof. Dr. Florian Altermatt, Phone: +41 58 765 55 92.

Applications must be submitted by 25 February 2023 and should include a motivation letter with a description of pertinent experience, a complete CV (incl. publication list), the names and e-mail addresses of three academic references, and copies of certificates of academic qualifications. The application should be submitted as one single pdf-file. The position is open as of now, and the successful candidate is expected to start by fall 2023 the latest.

University of Zurich and Eawag are both committed to promoting diversity and equal opportunities for underrepresented minorities, and to support the compatibility of family and work. Applications from women are especially welcome.

We look forward to receiving your application
. Please send it through this webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. A click on the button below will take you directly to the application form.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development