The research group “Physiological Plant Ecology” of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Basel investigates the processes in plants that determine how plants operate in the context of their environment and to reveal how plants shape the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.

The open position is within the newly funded SNF project FORDROUGHT, where we seek to understand the drought vulnerability and acclimation potential of temperate European tree species. The project is situated at the Swiss Canopy Crane II research site, where a large-scale and long-term throughfall manipulation experiment is being installed.

Your position
The key objectives of the advertised PhD project is to understand the physiological, anatomical and morphological responses of mature trees to experimentally induced water limitation. Your tasks will be to assess in the filed how key ecophysiological processes (e.g. stomatal conductance, photosynthesis, water potential, osmotic adjustment), anatomical traits (e.g. vessel diameter, cell size), as well as morphological characteristics (e.g. leaf area, leaf size) respond to the experimental treatments. You will further use state-of-the art statistical tools and models to analyze these data to understand the potential of the different tree species to resist against or acclimate to changes in hydroclimate.

Your profile
We are looking for a dynamic, reliable, and motivated student with M.Sc./Diploma in biology, ecology, forestry, geography or related disciplines. Strong interest in process-oriented research in plant physiology and plant ecology and hands-on experience with ecophysiological instruments, field work and data analysis are beneficial. You need to feel comfortable to work in the gondola of the Swiss Canopy Crane II, 35 m above the ground. A driver license valid in Europe is required. Teamwork within the group and project partners requires advanced spoken and written English language skills.

We offer you
The research will be carried out within a 4-year project starting in early spring of 2023. We offer an interesting position in an international, interdisciplinary research environment at the University of Basel. Salary and social benefits are provided according to University of Basel rules.

Application / Contact
We accept online applications only. Please use the link below to access the online application form. Please submit a letter of motivation, a CV, a documentation of academic degree and contact information of three referees. Application deadline is October 2nd 2022. Further information can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Ansgar Kahmen (


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