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The research group Functional Plant Ecology, Institute of Biology and Life Sciences of the Carl von Ossietzky - University of Oldenburg, offers a PhD position starting as soon as possible:

Scientific staff
(Salary according to TV-L E13, 65%).

The position is limited to 3 years in the DFG-funded project "Epiphytes and wind in a changing world" that will be conducted by the research group Functional Plant Ecology (Prof. Dr. Zotz) in close collaboration with the TWiSt-lab (Prof. Dr. Peinke).

Epiphytes are a key-element of tropical diversity. Their natural habitat, tropical forests, is increasingly fragmented by on-going human activity. One consequence is increased exposure to wind. Such exposed growth also occurs in the natural setting. Thus, resistance to the mechanical disturbance by wind is a prerequisite of epiphytic growth. One of the predicted results of global climate change is the occurrence of stronger storms. With this project we want to answer several questions, e.g. how much wind force epiphytes can resist before they lose the connection to their substrate, and whether the substrate itself is the mechanical bottleneck in the system. The PhD position is located in Oldenburg (northern Germany), but will include extensive stays in the tropics, mainly but not exclusively in Panama.

We look for an independent and open-minded candidate who is creative and highly interested in biological and biomechanical questions.

The successful applicant will:

  • Plan and conduct experiments in the field and in the wind tunnel
  • Collect field data in the tropics
  • Conduct the statistical analyses of your data independently


  • A MSc (or equivalent) in biology or a related discipline
  • An analytical and critical mind-set
  • The ability to independently work on scientific problems
  • The willingness and physical fitness to do field work for several months at a time in the tropics
  • Hands-on experience with statistical analyses (preferentially with R)
  • Fluency in English is essential
  • Some knowledge of German and Spanish is advantageous
  • Knowledge of rope climbing techniques would be advantageous
  • Capacity for teamwork and the ability to communicate

The Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. In order to increase the percentage of female staff members, female candidates with equal qualification will be given preference. Applicants with disabilities will be preferentially considered in case of equal qualification.

Please send your application, including a cover letter with clear statements of your motivation, CV, relevant certificates and the contact details of two references (at least one of whom should be academic), preferably as a single pdf file to: Prof. Gerhard Zotz (gerhard.zotz[at] and Dr. Helena Einzmann (helena.einzmann[at] or to: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Zotz, Dr. Helena Einzmann, Funktionelle Ökologie der Pflanzen, Institut für Biologie und Umweltwissenschaften, Universität Oldenburg, Postfach 2503, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany. The deadline for the acceptance of applications is Tuesday 31st October 2017. For further information, see: or contact one of the email addresses mentioned above.


Universitätseigene Stellenausschreibungen werden ausschließlich erst nach Bestätigung durch die/den jeweilige(n) PersonalsachbearbeiterIn des Dezernates 1 und anschließender Weiterleitung hierher aufgenommen.