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PhD Position in Agro-Ecology, Molecular Ecology and Climate Change, Zürich

#1 von Karsten , 14.03.2017 10:53

As a result of global climate change, some of the most severe weather events, including drought events, will
become more frequent in Europe over the next 50 to 100 years. Thus, farming practices have to be developed
that ensure food security, but so far, it is unclear which farming systems are most resilient against climate
change. Here, we will compare the main Swiss arable farming systems (organic arable farming with tillage,
organic arable farming with reduced tillage, conventional arable farming with tillage and conventional arable
farming without tillage) and investigate their response to simulated summer drought. It will be tested which farming system is most resistant to drought and which mechanisms are responsible for this. Specific attention will be given to plant symbionts (mycorrhizal fungi), belowground biological diversity and soil structure.

- Test which farming system is most resilient to drought
- Investigate whether belowground biodiversity, belowground community composition and soil structure varies among farming systems and whether these factors can be used to explain differences in drought resilience.
- Test whether the mycorrhizal fungal contribution to plant nutrient uptake varies with drought and depends on farming system.

- MSc in ecology, agronomy, microbial ecology, botany or biogeochemistry
- Expertise with one or two of the following research fields: Agro-ecology, nutrient cycling, molecular profiling of microbial communities and soil science
- Experience with statistics (R) in ecology and microbial ecology is advantageous
- Achievement-oriented, open-minded personality with good capacity for teamwork
- Communication and IT skills as well as knowledge of two official Swiss languages. Working language is English.

Agroscope is an innovative research institute for agriculture and nutrition, run according to the principles of New Public Management. Agroscope is part of the federal administration and is attached to the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER. It has research stations at a number of sites around Switzerland but its head office is in Bern (Liebefeld).
The Plant-Soil-Interactions group ( focuses on plant-soil-microbe interactions, soil biodiversity, soil ecosystem services and sustainable farming systems. The advertised project is part of a collaborative research project between ETH Zürich (Prof. Nina Buchmann) and Agroscope (Prof. Marcel van der Heijden & co-workers) and funded by ETH Zurich World Food System Center and the Mercator Research Program. The project makes use of the Swiss Farming Systems and Tillage Experiment at Agroscope (see Wittwer et al. 2017, Scientific Reports) and it builds upon earlier work of the host groups (e.g. Bender et al. 2016, Trends in Ecology & Evolution; Prechsl et al. 2014, Rapid Communication in Mass Spectrometry; Prechsl et al. 2015, Oecologia; Schlaeppi et al. 2016, New Phytologist).
We offer you varied work in a young and multidisciplinary research team as well as thorough initial training. Agroscope has excellent research facilities with well-equipped laboratories, greenhouses, climate chambers and agricultural fields. You will enjoy flexible working hours and good employee benefits. You will be enrolled as a PhD student at ETH Zürich.

Place of Work Agroscope, Zurich-Affoltern
Salary Category According to the guidelines of the Swiss National Science Foundation
Employment Level 100%

If this challenge appeals to you and you meet our requirements profile, we look forward to receiving your online application to
Online applications consist of a single PDF containing an application letter, CV, copy of certificates/Diplomas (MSc &BSc) and Email addresses of 2 referees. This position is open until filled (first evaluation of the applications will be on the 27st of March and interviews are in the first weeks of April).
For further information: Prof. Dr. Marcel van der Heijden, Head of the Plant-Soil-Interactions research group, phone +41 58 468 72 78, (Do not send applications to this e-mail). Start date: Spring/Summer 2017 - Duration: 3 years.



Thomas Zehnder
8046 Zürich

Ansprechpartner: Prof. Dr. Marcel van der Heijden,

Beiträge: 743
Registriert am: 27.03.2011


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