Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

Frankfurt am Main

Job offer ref. #11-18004
The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN) is a member of the Leibniz Association and is based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. SGN conducts natural history research with almost 800 employees and research institutions in six federal states. Within SGN, the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) explores the interactions between biodiversity, climate, and society.

In the context of the DFG funded Research Unit “Environmental Change in a Biodiversity hotspot in southern Ecuador: system response and feedbacks (RESPECT)”, Senckenberg BiK-F invites applications for a PhD position in “Seed dispersal and plant regeneration in a tropical forest” (part time, 65 %)

You will investigate how functional traits affect the plant regeneration cycle in diverse tropical forests in Podocarpus National Park, Ecuador, and test the importance of abiotic and biotic filters for plant recruitment in different environments. The project will be conducted in collaboration with a PhD-student from Ecuador and with German and Ecuadorian counterparts
in the Research Unit.

Your tasks

  • Record seed rain by avian frugivores across environmental gradients
  • Conduct seed-sowing experiments to study how abiotic and biotic filters limit plant recruitment
  • Measure plant functional traits relevant for seed dispersal and recruitment
  • Intensive, independent fieldwork in tropical montane forests in Ecuador
  • Develop statistical models analysing functional diversity, seed rain and seedling recruitment

Your profile

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in Ecology or a related field
  • Solid background in Plant and Animal Ecology
  • Ability and interest to undertake independent research in a tropical forest
  • Experience in field experiments and physical endurance to conduct fieldwork in Ecuador
  • Good skills in statistical modelling with the programming language R
  • Very good written and oral English skills, basic Spanish skills are beneficial
  • High interest to publish and present the outcome of this study

What is awaiting you?

  • An interesting task in a dynamic team of researchers in an international research group
  • Affiliation with the Goethe University Frankfurt and membership in its graduate academy GRADE
  • You will have the possibility to build a network with scientists at an international level and attend national and international conferences
  • Flexible working hours – annual special payment – company pension scheme –Senckenberg ID card for free entry in museums in Frankfurt
  • Salary and benefits are according to a public service position in Germany (TV-H E 13, 65%).

The contract should start as soon as possible (preferably 1st August 2018) and will be restricted to three years. The Senckenberg Research Institute supports equal opportunity of men and women and therefore strongly invites women to apply. Equally qualified handicapped applicants will be given preference. The place of employment will be Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The employer is the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung.

How to apply

Please send your application until April 15th, 2018 by e-mail (attachment in a single pdf document), mentioning the reference of this position (ref. #11-18004) and including a letter outlining your suitability and motivation, a detailed CV, all transcripts and grades, contact details of two references, your publications (if applicable) and a thesis summary to:
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Senckenberganlage 25
60325 Frankfurt a.M.

For scientific information please get in contact with Dr. Eike Lena Neuschulz (, or PD Dr. Matthias Schleuning (

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Bewerbungsende: 15.04.2018