The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL is part of the ETH Domain. Approximately 600 people work on the sustainable use and protection of the environment and on the handling of natural hazards.
The research group Dynamic Macroecology of Dr. Niklaus E. Zimmermann studies questions related to spatial ecology, macroevolution and biodiversity conservation. For this group, we are looking from early fall 2023 for the duration of 4 years for a
PhD Student in plant macroevolution and -ecology 100%
as part of a large SNSF (ERC) Advanced Grant project (Predicting hotspots of climate change impacts on ecosystems from an eco-evolutionary biome framework). This project aims at (1) defining and mapping global biomes, (2) projecting global change impacts on biomes, and (3) testing a novel eco-evolutionary biome theory. As part of this large effort, you will test novel theoretical foundations relevant to global biomes. First, you will assess to what degree biomes differ regarding evolutionary biome conservatism. Second, you will study the evolution of biome-typical functional plant traits and the relationship of the timing of trait evolution and biome conservatism. Finally, you will contribute to assess the linkage of the evolutionary history of biomes to biotic and abiotic stress tolerance of biome-dominant plants. The project will be carried out in an interdisciplinary team at WSL and in close cooperation with nine international partners. It will contain fieldwork to test spatial model predictions from a novel biome mapping pipeline on four different continents. The main place of work will be the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL in Birmensdorf, Switzerland.
You hold an MSc degree in macroevolution, evolutionary ecology, bioinformatics or a related field, and you have knowledge in plant phylogenetics, phylogenetic comparative methods and in the handling, processing and analysis of large phylogenies. You have experienced in the building (and dating) of phylogenies (e.g. using RevBayes, BEAST2, etc.). Further assets are expertise in macroecology and/or functional ecology, and experience coding and scripting languages (e.g. R, Python), in cluster computing, machine learning or artificial intelligence. The capability to develop new ideas independently is necessary, as are very good English skills (both written and oral). You are a curious, self-reliant person who is also an excellent team worker and values cooperation.
Please upload your complete application to Beatrice Lamprecht, Human Resources WSL, through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered. The application should include: 1) a cover letter with a statement about your motivation to work for this project and your vision for the future of your career; 2) a curriculum vitae including (if applicable) the list of publications or MSc thesis topic and abstract; 3) copies of your academic qualifications (i.e. diplomas); and 4) names and contact information of 3 academic references.
Applications will be considered until the position is filled, but we will start evaluating applicants by late August. Niklaus Zimmermann will be happy to answer any questions or offer further information. The WSL strives to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which is why qualified women are particularly called upon to apply for this position.