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.

In the DFG funded project “Understanding variation of silicon and calcium in managed grasslands - BEsic” we want to study direct and indirect effects between land-use, soil and plant Si and Ca that have the potential to mediate ecosystem processes and services in managed grasslands. Our aim is to mechanistically disentangle these effects by investigating variation in Si and Ca in soils, plant communities and single species under different land-use scenarios in the framework of the Biodiversity Exploratories. Specifically, we aim to study the effect of land-use on plant community Si and Ca, the filtering effect of soil Si and Ca via shifts in species composition and the environmental effect of soil Si and Ca availability on plastic variation in different species and plant functional types.

We are offering a part-time (65%) position temporarily limited for 36 month at our locations in Paulinenaue & Müncheberg as

PhD student (f/m/d)

Your tasks:

  • sampling of soil and aboveground biomass of plants in the field
  • determination of plant functional traits
  • chemical extraction of plant community and single species biomass and soil
  • analysis of Ca and Si by MP-AES
  • synthesis of existing data from the Biodiversity Exploratories
  • data and statistical analysis
  • presentation at conferences and scientific publication of the results

Your qualifications:

  • master in biology, biogeochemistry, biogeography, or comparable studies
  • good English speaking and writing skills
  • knowledge in plant and/or soil ecology
  • basic understanding in chemistry and lab work
  • comprehensive knowledge in statistics and related programs (R-language)
  • flexibility for a field sampling campaign in Germany in 2023

What we offer:

  • an interesting research project tightly linked to many other projects within the Biodiversity Exploratories network
  • attendance of annual meetings of the Biodiversity Exploratories as well as national and international conferences
  • excellent networking and training opportunities within the Zalf doctoral program and the Biodiversity Exploratories
  • supervision by two research groups at ZALF (Sustainable Grassland Systems, Silicon Biogeochemistry)
  • an interdisciplinary working environment that encourages independence and self-reliance
  • classification according to the collective agreement of the federal states (TV-L) up to EG 13 (including special annual payment)
  • 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 CV, proof of qualification and certificates, stating the reference number 161-2022 until 31 January 2023 to (see button e-mail application below).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Joana Bergmann, or Dr. Jörg Schaller,

Application documents sent by post or extensive publications will not be returned**.**

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.

E-mail application Online application