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Four PhD positions at ZFMKLeibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity, Germany

The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity (ZFMK) invites applications for four 3-year PhD positions, intended starting date March 1, 2020.

PhD positions: “German Barcode of Life GBOL III: Dark Taxa”.

The BMBF-funded German Barcode of Life (GBOL) initiative aims at assembling a comprehensive DNA barcode library of German animals. During the GBOL I and GBOL II projects, DNA barcodes of many species have been generated, and the reference library currently covers all major groups of German insects (e.g., butterflies and moths, beetles and bees).

The new project, GBOL III: Dark Taxa, will target taxonomically less thoroughly known taxa (“dark taxa”) of insects, in particular several families of Diptera and of parasitoid Hymenoptera, through a DNA barcoding-based, integrative taxonomic approach. Apart from complementing the DNA barcode library, the outcomes of the project will include species-level revisions, identification keys, species checklists, and enhanced protocols for DNA metabarcoding and target DNA enrichment. Another important aim of GBOL III: Dark Taxa will be the training of skilled, next-generation taxonomists.

The positions will be imbedded into a consortium of project partners and external taxonomic specialists. The project partners include the ZFMK, the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, the Krefeld Entomological Society, and the University of Würzburg. Central coordination and project lead of GBOL III: Dark Taxa will be housed at the ZFMK.

At the ZFMK the project will focus on the following target taxa: 1) Diptera: Limoniidae, 2) Diptera: Psychodidae, 3) Hymenoptera: Figitidae, 4) Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae. Depending on availability and feasibility, additional related taxa will be included if relevant for the project.

We seek excellent and highly motivated candidates with a strong enthusiasm for insects and biodiversity and with interests in the application of integrative taxonomic approaches. Candidates are expected to make a substantial contribution to the taxonomy of the targeted taxa by extending the DNA barcode library, creating identification keys, and developing new protocols and approaches to make the taxa available for scientific research in applied entomology, conservation, ecology and other biological disciplines.

Candidates with the following profile will be given consideration:

  • MSc degree in biology or a related discipline
  • background in taxonomy, biodiversity and/or molecular systematics
  • strong interest in working with insects and in using integrative taxonomic approaches
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
  • very good organization skills
  • experience in the analysis of molecular and morphological data as well as python or perl scripting skills will be a bonus

The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) is one of three natural history research museums in the Leibniz Association and a lead institute in the documentation, research, and interpretation of animal biodiversity. The combination of classical museum work and various cutting-edge approaches with a modern molecular laboratory at the Center for Molecular Biodiversity Research and a state-of-the-art high-performance computing cluster offers a highly motivating and stimulating research environment.

Applications should include:

  • A cover letter that outlines your motivation, relevant skills, experience and research interests
  • A detailed CV with list of publications
  • Copies of BSc and MSc certificates
  • Contact details of two (ideally academic) references

Salary and benefits are equivalent to a public service position for three years at level TV-L E 13, 65%. The intended starting date is March 1, 2020.

Please submit your application electronically as a single PDF file until January 15th, 2020 to Mrs. Heike Lenz,

Questions concerning the project may be directed to Dr. Ralph S. Peters at

The ZFMK advocates gender equality and women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. Equally qualified severely handicapped applicants will be given preference. The place of employment is Bonn, Germany.