9 PhD positions in the field of forest biodiversity ecosystem functioning research (TreeDì / BEF-China)

Dec 23, 2023 · 3 mins read
9 PhD positions in the field of forest biodiversity ecosystem functioning research (TreeDì / BEF-China)
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The International Research Training Group “TreeDì - Tree Diversity Interactions: The role of tree-tree interactions in local neighborhoods in Chinese subtropical forests” (GRK 2324), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), invites applications for 9 PhD positions in Germany.

TreeDì ( is operated by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and its partner universities Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU) and University of Leipzig (UL) in cooperation with the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). The aim of TreeDì is to understand how tree-tree interactions in local neighbourhoods of varying diversity translate into observed tree species richness effects on key ecosystem functions at the community scale. In addition, TreeDì seeks to understand the role of the forest understorey (shrub species composition and diversity) for ecosystem functioning. All research projects are carried out on the BEF-China platform in subtropical China - the largest forest BEF experiment worldwide (

By bringing together experts and doctoral researchers from leading research institutions located in Germany and China, TreeDì creates a stimulating network of excellence. TreeDì features an international qualification programme involving an intensive Chinese-German cultural exchange during a 6-month research visit in the partners’ countries, a joint PhD advisory committee (PAC) composed of Chinese and German experts, and unique offers to meet, study and discuss with figureheads in biodiversity research.

Within the International Research Training Group TreeDì (GRK 2324) we offer the following positions in Germany:

Doctoral Researcher (m/f/d)

9 positions

limited to 3 years, 65 percent of a full-time employment, Salary: Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L

Starting date: 01 June 2024

All positions are detailed on

P1G-3: Spatial aboveground complementarity
PIs: Prof. Goddert von Oheimb, PD Dr. Andreas Fichtner
Place of work: Tharandt/ Dresden

P2G-3: Complementarity through trait variation
PIs: Prof. Sylvia Haider, Dr. Steffen Neumann
Place of work: Lüneburg

P3G-3: Diversity signals in tree interaction history
PI: Prof. Christian Wirth
Place of work: Leipzig

P4G-3: Bottom-up and top-down drivers of herbivory
PI: Prof. Andreas Schuldt
Place of work: Göttingen

P5G-3: Drivers of fungal endophyte richness
PI: Prof. Helge Bruelheide
Place of work: Halle (Saale)

P6G-3: Drivers of soil micro-eukaryote richness (nematodes, protists)
PI: Dr. Peter Dietrich
Place of work: Halle (Saale)

P7G-3: Rhizosphere and root microbes
PI: Dr. Tesfaye Wubet
Place of work: Halle (Saale)

P8G-3: Soil microclimate and soil functions
PIs: Dr. Simone Cesarz, Prof. Nico Eisenhauer
Place of work: Leipzig

P9G-3: Modelling generalized diversity interactions
PI: Ulrich Brose
Place of work: Leipzig

We offer:

  • Cutting-edge research projects in one of the largest tree diversity experiments
  • Outstanding and integrative research environment offering many networking opportunities
  • Individual supervision by internationally recognized scientists in BEF research
  • Tailored international qualification programme

Requirements/expected profile:

  • M.Sc. degree in a project-related field (e.g. ecology; environmental sciences)
  • Very good ecological knowledge and great interest with regard to forest biodiversity research
  • Good quantitative and statistical skills in R
  • Excellent communication skills in English - writing and speaking
  • Motivated to be a proactive team player in an international research consortium
  • Applicants must be prepared to spend substantial time (approx. 2-4 months per year) in China for fieldwork, lab visits, and courses
  • Willingness to work under sometimes difficult subtropical field conditions (hot and humid climate). Fieldwork experience would be advantageous

Application deadline: 17 January 2024

All applications should include:

  • Cover letter in English describing motivation for the project, research interests and relevant experience
  • Curriculum vitae in tabular form
  • Digital copy of the master`s certificate and transcript of records or equivalent
  • Names and contact details of at least two scientific references

Please submit your application in English and via our application portal on

It is possible to apply for several projects. Selected candidates will be invited to a recruitment symposium taking place at iDiv in Leipzig on 4-5 March 2024.