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PhD Assessment of Vascular Plant Encroachment in a Sphagnum bog

14.01.2020 - University Freiburg, Germany

The Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, in Freiburg (Germany) invites application for a PhD position with 65 % of the regular weekly working time, limited to three years, in the research project „Impact assessment of vascular plant encroachment on water and carbon cycling in a Sphagnum dominated bog - VESBO“.

Rewetting of previously used raised bogs is an effective, cost-efficient and widely used measure for greenhouse gas emission reduction and biodiversity conservation. The success of this measure is increasingly threatened by the encroachment of multi-layered tree and grass communities. The causes and effects of this encroachment on the water and carbon cycle are largely unknown.
The position is directed to applicants who, in addition to their employment, wish to pursue their own academic career, in particular their doctorate. In this context, the Thünen Institute for Climate-Smart Agriculture cooperates with various universities.
Project aims:
• the mechanistic analysis of evapotranspiration and carbon exchange of a re-wetted, Atlantic-temperate raised bog under vascular plant encroachment in direct comparison to a site with near-natural vegetation
• the partitioning of ecosystem fluxes and annual balances into moss, grass, tree and soil contributions depending on dynamic environmental conditions
• the characterization of the contribution of the plant functional group to mass and energy fluxes of the bog ecosystem with regard to restoration and emission mitigation measures under changing climatic conditions

The project is being carried out in cooperation with a working group at Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture conducting research on national and international level in the area of organic soils and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE). The place of work is Braunschweig. We offer a comprehensive job dealing with a current research topic that includes challenging data analysis, and field and laboratory work.
Detailed tasks:
• Adaptation of the used SVAT model to the conditions of the test sites with special consideration of the multi-layered vegetation cover including bryophytes as well as the soil physical properties of the peat.
• Modeling water and carbon fluxes of the two study sites using eddy covariance and chamber flux data to derive ecophysiological parameters of the involved plant functional groups.
• Partitioning of the atmosphere exchange at the ecosystem level in peat, moss and vascular plant contributions as well as quantification of the annual balance with propagation of parameter uncertainties.
• Assessment of vascular plant encroachment on rewetted raised bog ecosystems with respect to emission reduction and nature conservation targets, as well as the evaluation of common conservation measures.
• Contribution to field and laboratory work.
• Writing scientific publications.

• University degree (Univ.-Diplom or M.Sc.) in the field of geoecology, hydrology, agriculture, environmental or soil science or related subjects
• Profound knowledge in biogeochemistry, plant physiology or soil science
• sound knowledge of a programming language, preferably Python
• Knowledge of peatlands or greenhouse gas emissions from soils are beneficial
• Willingness to conduct physically demanding field work during field trips over several days
• Team spirit, flexibility, high motivation and the ability to work independently
• Scientific curiosity and willingness to work on a doctoral thesis
• Excellent communication and writing skills in English
• Driving licence
The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13.
We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send in a complete and convincing application in English with all relevant supporting documents, including the reference number 00000847. Please send your application to the following address preferably in electronic form:

University Freiburg
Chair of Ecosystem Physiology
Dr. Maren Dubbert
Georges-Köhler-Allee 53
79110 Freiburg
E-Mail (one pdf file):
For further information, please contact Mrs Dr. Maren Dubbert on the phone number +49 761 +49 761 203 or E-Mail