PhD Studentship “Metabarcoding of insects”

Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig


The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn (ZFMK) invites applications for a 3-year PhD position starting between July 1st and September 1st, 2021. This is a 65% position. The salary is paid up to salary group 13, TV-L, depending on qualifications.

The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) is one of three natural history research museums in the Leibniz Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig 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. For more information about the museum see

The position is part of the project „Insect conservation at railway stations through insect friendly lighting” (BALIN). This is a four-year project led by Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Deutsche Bahn and the Federal Railway Authority, funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). The aim of this study is to make the lighting at German railway stations more insect-friendly by testing various lighting options using an experimental setup at railway stations in Brandenburg. The PhD project will involve the analysis of insect diversity from large amounts of bulk insect samples using metabarcoding methods.  Insect diversity data will be integrated with environmental data, with room to develop own ideas. The PhD student will be supervised by a multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Marianne Espeland (Lepidoptera) and Dr Sarah Bourlat (Metabarcoding) and closely cooperate with project partners.


  • Analyzing high-throughput amplicon sequence data from insect bulk samples using bioinformatic pipelines and the GBOL reference database
  • Integrating metabarcoding and environmental data
  • Writing scientific papers
  • Scientific outreach

Required Skills, Experience, Background:

  • Master’s degree or close to completing a Master’s degree in biology, bioinformatics or related disciplines
  • Strong enthusiasm for insects, environmental and molecular biodiversity studies
  • High motivation to acquire and develop new skills
  • Prior knowledge of statistical analysis and data visualization in R
  • Excellent spoken and written English

Preferred Skills:

  • Prior expertise in the analysis of high throughput sequencing data, especially metabarcoding data
  • Prior bioinformatic and scripting skills
  • Good skills in spoken and written German

Applications should include letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, official BSc and/ or MSc certificates, and contact details of two (ideally academic) references

Please submit your application only digitally until March 15th 2021 to Katharina Ostermann:

Due to organizational reasons only digital applications can be taken into consideration. Questions concerning the project may be directed to Dr Marianne Espeland (

The ZFMK advocates gender equality and women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. Equally qualified severely handicapped applicants will be given preference.

Achtung! Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbungen direkt an die Einrichtung, die die Stelle ausschreibt, und nicht an den Deutschen Museumsbund. Wenn in der Ausschreibung keine E-Mail-Adresse angegeben ist, sind Online-Bewerbungen nicht erwünscht. Vielen Dank!

Bewerbungsende: 15.03.2021