Tailored opportunities: Two PhD and one Postdoc position in avian iodiversity modelling and global change ecology


The Geography Department at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is looking for highly qualified and motivated candidates for PhD and Postdoc positions.  Successful applicants will join the newly established Biodiversity Modelling lab headed by  Dr. Damaris Zurell (https://damariszurell.github.io) and will contribute to the DFG-funded Emmy Noether research project “BIOPIC – Disentangling the effects of demography, dispersal and biotic interactions on population and community response to global change”.

The project aims at improving the scientific basis for model-based biodiversity assessments and increasing reliability of biodiversity predictions for broad spatial scales. Together, we will develop an integrated modelling framework able to disentangle the complex roles of demography, dispersal and biotic interactions in shaping species niches, and assess their effects on population and community response to global change. The framework and its single components will be validated using a mix of simulated and empirical data, and it will be operationalized for avian communities.

Position 1 – PhD in modelling species interactions (Reference number DR/013/18): to work on improving our understanding how biotic interactions shape species’ niches. The PhD candidate will mainly work with joint species distribution models (JSDMs). Using empirical data, you will test spatial scale dependence of JSDMs as well as spatiotemporal variation in species interactions. You will also implement dynamic models of multi-species interactions to test the ability of JSDMs to detect interspecific interactions from co-occurrence and coabundance as well as trait data.

Position 2 – PhD in modelling range dynamics (Reference number DR/014/18): to work on improving our understanding how life history and demography shape species’ niches. The  PhD candidate will implement a generic framework for dynamic distribution modelling to  predict spatial distribution of species as well as local population dynamics. A key component  will be to develop workflows for identifying and modelling key life stages in birds and other animals, and for assigning stage-specific demographic response functions in the dynamic modelling framework.

Position 3 – Postdoc in dispersal modelling (Reference number DR/015/18): to work on
improving our understanding how life history and individual variation shape dispersal. The  postdoc will be responsible for obtaining and processing ring recovery data for European breeding birds, for conducting meta-analyses on dispersal and demographic data across  Europe, for building (natal and breeding) dispersal kernels and assessing spatial and  functional variation in dispersal.


Candidates should have an above average MSc (positions 1-2) or PhD degree (position 3) in a relevant field (ecology, geoecology, geography), be highly self-motivated and able to work in a dynamic team. We expect strong quantitative skills in statistics and computer modelling (R, C++), and previous experience in analyses of large biodiversity data sets and spatial data analyses. Background in biodiversity theory, avian ecology, species distribution modelling, Bayesian statistics, population modelling, individual-based modelling and/or ecological network analysis, as well as experience with high performance clusters, is advantageous. Candidates should also show strong writing and verbal communication skills. We expect  successful candidates to write scientific papers on the project in internationally peer-reviewed journals, and to present the research at national and international meetings.  Working language is English.


Deadline for application is 9 March 2018


Please send your complete application including the reference number,
a letter of motivation, full CV, publication list, and contact details for two references electronically and in a single PDF file to Dr. Damaris Zurell damaris.zurell@hu-berlin.de ).  The reference number must be included in the subject line of your email. Please visit our website http://www.hu-berlin.de/stellenangebote for access to the legally binding German version.

For more details on this opportunity please read this document.

If you want any support in making an application, post your question in the comment box below.

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