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PhD position in Tree Ecophysiology at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany

PhD position in Tree Ecophysiology at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany

Sep 11, 18
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A joint PhD position is available to start on January 1, 2019 at the Chair of Ecophysiology and Vegetation Ecology of the Julius-von-Sachs-Institute for Biosciences, University of Wuerzburg, Germany ( and the Ecosystem Modelling Group of the Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology (CCTB), University of Wuerzburg, Germany ( The salary will be paid according to TV-L (50% position) for the duration of three years.
Project description
Given impeding climate warming and the increase in frequency and intensity of heat waves in Central Europe, identification of tree species that can cope with these environmental pressures and understanding how they respond to drought-stress are of great importance. Although several tree physiological attributes are related to drought-stress resistance and survival after severe heat, recent studies highlight the importance of plant hydraulic traits for predicting drought-induced tree mortality and their potential to forecast species’ distribution in a changing climate. However, most plant hydraulic traits are labour-intense, hindering the compilation of large global datasets needed for the systematic inclusion of tree species in predictive mechanistic models. To fill this gap, a set of plant functional traits related to drought survival will be measured for 50 native and non-native temperate broad-leaved tree species, including structural, hydraulic, an!
atomical,  and foliar traits. The PhD candidate will characterize the drought-stress resistance of these species and search for trade-offs between vascular, hydraulic and foliar traits. These ecophysiological traits will be used to calibrate already available structurally-realistic ecophysiological models for tree growth and structural traits will be used to validate model assumptions on trait trade-offs and trait syndromes. The PhD candidate will then use the calibrated model to identify what traits or trait syndromes jointly co-evolved and to forecast tree performance under future climate scenarios.
Applicants should hold a master or diploma degree in biology, forestry, environmental sciences, or a related discipline. Candidates with field and laboratory research experience in plant hydraulic and/or wood anatomical measurements are preferred. Advanced command of English and the ability to write scientific manuscripts is essential. Basic knowledge in mechanistic modelling and scientific programming (e.g. GIS, R, C++) is a plus. We are looking for an outstanding and highly motivated candidate, who is team-oriented and willing to learn and work independently and precisely. The University of Würzburg is an equal opportunities employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for female scientists and scholars.
Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. Disabled persons with equivalent aptitude for the position will be favoured.
Applications including a letter of motivation, research experience, CV with degree certificates and grades, and copies of publications if available should be sent by October 10, 2018 as single pdf-document to Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schuldt ( and Prof. Dr. Juliano Sarmento Cabral (

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