The Chair of Ecosystem Physiology, University of Freiburg, Germany, offers an open PhD position of an academic researcher (E13, 65%), 4 years on “Effect of tree nutrient strategies and carbon exudation by root-mycorrhizal associations on forest floor turnover”, which is part of the research unit “FOREST FLOOR: Functioning, Dynamics, and Vulnerability in a Changing World” established by the DFG under FOR 5315.

Background: The forest floor is the most reactive part of forest soils with high and fast turnover and is an important controlled variable of forest ecosystems. Currently, temperate European forests undergo significant changes that includes effects on forest floor thickness. However, drivers of these changes are unknown. Tree species exert a strong control on forest floor dynamics, as reflected by a steady state between litter input and decomposition. The project will explore the importance of leaf and root littler quality, rhizodeposition and root exudation as carbon and nutrient sources for the fungi and microbes of the rhizosphere and their control forest floor turnover.

The project will investigate the role of nutrient input into the forest floor by the leaf litter & nutrition of trees: determination of C, N and the 13C, 15N signature of beech, maple and spruce leaves, roots and root exudates and labelled 15N root uptake, as well as C and N lateral distribution in forests in a joint littler dispersal experiment of the research unit 5315.

Requirements: The candidate will work in an international researcher team in the lab as well as at different forest stands. We are looking for a motivated team member with basic knowledge in plants / trees physiology; pleasure to work in the field in harsh environment; technical understanding and creative thinking to establish new approaches; very good English skills and driver license class B. The University of Freiburg is firmly committed to the goal of a family-friendly university and offers several supports. Severely disabled persons will be given preference if they are equally qualified. Please sent your application until 15th of July.

Application and contact:

Please sent your application to Prof. Dr. Christiane Werner (Email:, Phone: 49-761-203-8301). Address: Chair of Ecosystem Physiology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Georges-Köhler-Allee 053/054, 79110 Freiburg, Germany.

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