Plant-consumer interactions (1 PhD position)

commencing on 01 April 2024.
Original link:

The Friedrich Schiller University together with the Technical University Munich offers a part-time position (65%), limited to 48 months (24 months FSU and 24 months TUM) with a permanent place of work in Jena.

The Jena Experiment is among the largest and longest running biodiversity experiments globally investigating the consequences of species loss on the functioning of ecosystems ( Invertebrates in grasslands are highly diverse and essential for trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. While plant diversity begets invertebrate diversity, variable environmental conditions and extremes particularly related to ongoing climate change induce fluctuations in these relationships. Thus, it is essential to investigate the temporal dynamics in consumer communities and their drivers and to identify buffering mechanisms because these can have profound implications for the stability and functioning of entire food webs.
In cooperation between Dr. Anne Ebeling (Friedrich-Schiller University Jena) and Dr. Sebastian T. Meyer (Technical University of Munich), we will investigate what causes temporal variability in consumer communities and associated functions, and if plant diversity has a stabilizing effect on invertebrate consumer communities and associated ecosystem functions? In this project, the PhD student will understand the interplay between plants and higher trophic levels, apply advanced statistical methods on time-series data, and further our knowledge on the dynamics of the functioning of consumer and plant communities.

Your responsibilities:

  • Work on your scientific qualification project (doctorate)
  • Conduct field and lab work
  • Data analyses and writing of project-relevant manuscripts
  • Presentation of scientific results at local, national, and international conferences

Your profile:

  • An excellent Master’s degree in biology, preferentially ecology, zoology or a related discipline
  • Expertise and experience in the field of community ecology and a strong interest in multi-trophic interactions and experimental biodiversity research
  • Skills in statistical programming (preferably R), and enthusiasm about statistical data analyses are a prerequisite
  • Experience in field sampling and experimental design, entomology and handling of large datasets would be a plus
  • We expect excellent English communication skills (spoken and written); German would be advantageous.
  • Team-oriented with interest and ability in interdisciplinary research and organizational skills

We offer:

  • Work in a dynamic, international, and interdisciplinary environment in the beautiful city of Jena
  • The ability to develop a profile as an arthropod and functional biodiversity ecologist
  • Opportunities to develop and advance scientific networks including research stays at the Technical University of Munich
  • A family-friendly working environment with a variety of offers for families: University Family Office ‘JUniFamilie’ and flexible childcare (‘JUniKinder)
  • University health promotion and a wide range of university sports activities
  • Attractive fringe benefits, e.g. capital formation benefits (VL) and an occupational pension (VBL)
  • Remuneration based on the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Public Sector of the Federal States (TV-L) at salary scale 13 — depending on the candidate’s personal qualifications—, including a special annual payment in accordance with the collective agreement.
  • 30 days of vacation per calendar year plus two days off on December 24 and 31

The advertised position is limited to a maximum of 4 years (24 months FSU and 24 months TUM).

This is a part-time position with 65% of the working hours of a full-time employee (40 hours per week).

Candidates with severe disabilities will be given preference in the case of equal qualifications and suitability.

Are you eager to work for us? Then apply by 05 February 2024 using our online form.

For project-related questions, please contact PD Dr. Anne Ebeling ( or PD Dr. Sebastian Meyer (

For further information for applicants and the information on the collection of personal data, please refer to Data privacy and information for applicants