The mission of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) as a nationally and internationally active research institute is to deliver solutions for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable agriculture – together with society. ZALF is a member of the Leibniz Association and is located in Müncheberg (approx. 35 minutes by regional train from Berlin-Lichtenberg). It also maintains a research station with further locations in Dedelow and Paulinenaue.

The working group Isotope Biogeochemistry and Gas Fluxes (IBG) is investigating key processes that significantly regulate the flow of substances and water within the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum (SPAC) of agricultural used landscapes. Isotope techniques, methods for measuring gas fluxes and plant physiological studies are combined. The group is investigating the role of erosion for C and N dynamics (including GHG emissions) in agricultural landscapes on three different continents (Africa, Asia and Europe), the importance of rhizosphere processes for rhizodeposition and uptake, and the water balance and water use efficiency of ecosystems.

We are looking for a motivated PhD researcher joining our team to completing a dissertation within the research project WetNetBB. This project aims to support the use of rewetted grassland systems in Brandenburg by developing innovations and establishing new value chains for paludiculture. WetNetBB is part of the national network PaludiZentrale that follows similar goals in four other regions in Northern Germany. The project consortium includes the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Technology and Bioeconomy (ATB), Landesamt für Umwelt (LfU, State of Brandenburg), Hochschule für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE), Geoforschungszentrum (GFZ) and ZALF. We aim for an implementation of paludiculture in four regions in Brandenburg using a living lab approach. ZALF IBG will be responsible for the working package 4.3b “Investigation of small-scale heterogeneities of GHG and gaseous water fluxes using automated chamber systems”. The particular focus for the dissertation will be on small scale heterogeneities of GHG emissions and their drivers on rewetted grasslands.

We are offering a 65% position temporarily limited for three years (starting earliest 1st of January 2024) with an option to extend by one year if the project is continued with phase II, at our location in Müncheberg as

PhD researcher (f/m/d)

Your tasks:

  • implementation and maintenance of two intensive measurement sites to monitor small-scale heterogeneities in GHG-emissions (mainly CO2, CH4, N2O and ET) including automatic closed chambers (supported by technicians of the working group ZALF IBG) and IoT sensor networks
  • independent planning and execution of the necessary field work
  • use and further development of a range of low-cost DIY (Arduino/raspberry pi based) GHG and water flux measurement devices (developed by ZALF IBG and e.g. used in Ghana, Benin and the Philippines) for in-situ measurements of inter-alia CO2 and CH4 emissions as well as ET fluxes on different scales (from leave to plot)
  • nn-time data analyses using pre-developed calculation and evaluation scripts in R (a further development of those in R, Julia and/or Python is encouraged
  • close cooperation and exchange with project partners and local partners as well as preparation of results for communication to stakeholders (e.g. project workshops) and the scientific community (e.g. presentations at national and international conferences, journal publications)

Your qualifications:

  • excellent completion of a Master (or equivalent) in the field of electronics, agriculture, horticulture, biology, geo-ecology or related subjects
  • extensive knowledge of biogeochemical cycles and GHG-emission dynamics
  • basic knowledge of at least data processing or programming language (e.g., R) as well as peatlands and paludiculture is an advantage
  • organisational skills, the ability to work independently and willingness for multiday measurement campaigns and travelling to different field sites all over NE Germany
  • excellent command of English (oral and written)
  • scientific curiosity and high interest in writing a doctoral thesis

What we offer:

  • an interdisciplinary and multinational team that encourages independence and self-reliance and open-minded working atmosphere in a young and dynamic working group
  • excellent state-of-science technical facilities and equipment
  • links to national and international research networks (e.g. , Ecosystem Services Partnership, network in socio-economics of climate-friendly peatland use)
  • access to training courses for PhD students (e.g. in-house training, Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics, budget for additional training)
  • classification according to the collective agreement of the federal states (TV-L up to E13) (including special annual payment)
  • support in reconciling work and family life
  • a collegial and open-minded working atmosphere in a dynamic research institution
  • company ticket

Women are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications from severely disabled persons with equal qualifications are favored. It is generally possible to work in the position on a part-time basis. Please send your application preferably online (see button online application below). For e-mail applications, create a PDF document (one PDF file, max. 5 MB; packed PDF documents, archive files like zip, rar etc. Word documents cannot be processed and therefore cannot be considered!) with the usual documents, in particular Cover letter, CV, proof of qualification and certificates, stating the reference number 114-2023 until January, 15 2024 to (see button e-mail application below).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Mathias Hoffmann, Tel.: +49 33432/82-473, or Dr. Maren Dubbert, Tel.: +49 33432/82-475, maren.dubbert@zalf.

For cost reasons, application documents or extensive publications can only be returned if an adequately stamped envelope is attached.
If you apply, we collect and process your personal data in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the EU GDPR only for the processing of your application and for purposes that result from possible future employment with the ZALF. Your data will be deleted after six months.

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