Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL:

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL is part of the ETH Domain. Approximately 600 people work on the sustainable use and protection of the environment and on the handling of natural hazards.

The Research Unit “Biodiversity and Conservation Biology“ studies the diversity of life in its various forms, from genetic diversity to the diversity of species and habitats and their interactions. For the national transdisciplinary applied research program “Hydraulic engineering and Ecology” with its fifth project phase “Resilient Rivers – Refugia, Connectivity, Stepping Stones 2022-2026”, we are looking from early 2023 on for a PhD student in ecology of riparian plant species (f/m/d)

The goal of the PhDproject is to improve the understanding of the role of hydrochory and its contribution to functional connectivity for riparian plants. The PhD candidate will design laboratory experiments in channels in collaboration with hydraulic engineers to assess the impact of the hydraulic regime on seed dispersal. The work will include tracking of small-sized seeds and subsequent germination and growth experiments under laboratory conditions. The lab experiments will be contrasted with a collaborating project on numerical modelling of hydrochory.The PhD candidate will design and conduct field studies to evaluate the lab experiments and analyze the data to assess the longitudinal connectivity of riparian plant populations along Swiss rivers.

The selected PhD candidate will participate in a collaborative, transdisciplinary applied research project involving terrestrial and aquatic ecologists, hydraulic engineers and various stakeholders in the context of river restoration and river ecology. The project aims to understand connectivity of riparian plant populations at rivers in Switzerland.

The duration of the PhD position will be 4 years and the PhD degree will be awarded by ETH Zurich. The candidate will be based in the Research Unit of “Biodiversity and Conservation Biology” at WSL and be collaborating with researchers from the ETH domain, including hydraulic engineers (VAW ETH Zurich and PL-LCH EPF Lausanne) and aquatic ecologists (Eawag).

We are looking for a highly motivated person with interests in riparian plant and river ecology. The project is transdisciplinary and applied research and would benefit from a creative and open mind. The candidate is expected to hold a MSc degree in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences or equivalent, has experience in designing field work and lab experiments, and in statistical analyses (by means of R), demonstrated expertise in scientific communication (e.g., report and BSc/MSc thesis writing), and is willing to acquire knowledge in the field of hydraulic engineering. First experiences with plant cultivation or genetic analyses are valuable assets. Fluency in English is required.

Please send your complete application to Michèle Bucher, Human Resources WSL, by uploading the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered. Sabine Fink, phone +41 (0)44 739 28 36, will be happy to answer any questions or offer further information. The WSL strives to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which is why qualified women are particularly called upon to apply for this position.

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