PhD position on microbiome-mediated adaptation of Daphnia to pollution (m/f/x)

Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin

The research groups Evolving Metacommunities and Disease Evolutionary Ecology at the Department of Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology of IGB invite applications for a 3-year PhD position in evolutionary ecology starting from 01.03.2024 (or soon thereafter). The PhD position is part of the Leibniz Collaborative Excellence project “Pollution in urban ponds, eco-evolutionary dynamics and ecosystem resilience” (POUNDER) funded by the Leibniz Association and will be located in Berlin-Friedrichshagen. The overall goal of the POUNDER project is to assess the importance of urban ponds as nature-based solutions to manage climate-related hydrologic risks, while promoting biodiversity and human well-being in cities. POUNDER is an inter- and transdisciplinary project and involves partners from Berlin, Stechlin, Potsdam, Hannover, and the University of Iowa, USA.

The aim of this PhD project is to quantify how the gut microbiome mediates the response of Daphnia to chemical pollution in urban ponds and whether such adaptation results in increased resilience of pond ecosystems. If you are passionate about evolutionary and microbial ecology and aspire to make a meaningful contribution in the context of urban ecology and sustainability, this is an exceptional opportunity to be part of a cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research project.

The research will combine field sampling of urban ponds in Berlin with laboratory experiments to assess if microbiome-mediated adaptation of Daphnia to urban pollution enhances ecosystem resilience, as well as data evaluation and statistical analysis. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to interact with scientists from different institutions and to establish a broad network within and outside of academia. IGB provides an attractive working environment and has excellent equipment, technical support, and state-of-the-art infrastructure to conduct the PhD project and provides a PhD programme for PhD candidates.

Your tasks

  • Field work and sampling of urban ponds
  • Isolation of Daphnia populations from pond and experimental samples
  • Isolation of gut microbiomes of Daphnia from pond samples
  • Designing and performing experiments to test for microbiome-mediated tolerance of Daphnia to urban pollution (including microbiome transplants)
  • Participation in an outdoor mesocosm experiment to assess the impact of pollution on aquatic organisms
  • Performing statistical analyses of experimental data
  • Writing of manuscripts for submission to international peer-reviewed journals
  • Further result dissemination through presentations at national and international conferences

Your profile

  • Master (or equivalent) degree in biology, environmental sciences or a related field
  • Keen interest in understanding eco-evolutionary and host-microbiome interactions
  • Strong engagement for experimental work; demonstration of previous hands-on experience with experimental work is a bonus
  • Experience in statistical analysis (preferentially in R)
  • Very good English skills including scientific writing
  • Collaborative team-spirit and good communication skills

Our offer

We offer an interesting position in an international and dynamic scientific environment. We foster flat hierarchies and active participation.

The position is intended for full-time doctoral research for 3 years and is paid according to the German salary scheme for the public sector (TVöD Bund, 65% of E13, subject to the provision of funds).

We foster your career development by providing qualification and training opportunities. We actively support the reconciliation of work and family life. Qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply. The IGB is committed to diversity. We welcome every qualified application, regardless of sex and gender, origin, nationality, religion, belief, health and disabilities, age or sexual orientation. Disabled applicants with equal qualification and aptitude will be given preferential consideration.

Are you interested?

We look forward to receiving your application by 18.12.2023 including a 1-page motivation letter, CV (with publication list if applicable), master and other relevant certificates, as well as contact information of 2-3 referees. Please state the job reference number 61/2023 and apply exclusively via our recruitment platform at www.igb-berlin.de/en/jobs.

Questions can be directed to Justyna Wolinska by e-mail (justyna.wolinska@igb-berlin.de) or Lynn Govaert by email (lynn.govaert@igb-berlin.de).

"Research for the future of our freshwaters" is the mission of IGB – Germany’s largest and one of the leading international centres for freshwater research. In order to investigate different aspects of freshwater ecosystems, their biota and societal relevance, we unit a wide range of disciplines and understand research as a joint effort. With more than 350 employees and guests from all over the world, we conduct research at five locations in Berlin and at Lake Stechlin (Brandenburg). IGB is an institute of the German Leibniz Association and the Forschungsverbund Berlin e. V. www.igb-berlin.de