PhD position “Dynamic range shifts in Arctic plants and animals – combining ancient DNA analyses and species distribution modelling” (m/f/d)

Alfred Wegener Institute
April 05, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD position “Dynamic range shifts in Arctic plants and animals – combining

ancient DNA analyses and species distribution modelling” (m/f/d)

Background Rapid warming in the Arctic is expected to cause biodiversity change. However, we are lacking basic understanding on how quickly different species adapt and will shift their distribution poleward. This knowledge gap hinders our ability to make precise predictions about the future state of the Arctic. As part of the advertised PhD project three key questions will be addressed: How can we learn from past species specific dispersal pattern inferred from proxy data to better understand and predict future change? How fast can Arctic species shift their distribution northwards to track preferred climate and ecological niches? Which arctic areas should we protect now to safeguard the long-term survival of arctic biodiversity?


  • Investigating the spatiotemporal dynamics of past Arctic animal and plant species using proxy data (mainly sedimentary ancient DNA and pollen records)
  • Simulate past species specific dispersal and northward movements and provide validation via proxy data records
  • Apply species distribution models to predict future dynamics and inform optimisation tools for biodiversity protection
  • Requirements

  • Master's or equivalent degree in biology, physics or geology (or related disciplines)
  • Knowledge in data handling using R (or other syntax based languages) and basic statistics. Experience with species distribution modelling and handling of big data sets is of advantage
  • Knowledge in molecular genetics and bioinformatics is of advantage
  • Very good spoken and written English and ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment
  • Great willingness to present and publish research results on international conferences and in international scientific journals
  • Additional skills and knowledge

  • Willingness to conduct and support fieldwork in the high Arctic
  • Further Information

    Please contact Prof. Dr. Ulrike Herzschuh ([email protected]; +49 331 58174-5601) or Dr. Simeon Lisovski ([email protected]; +49(331)58174 5635) for further information.

    This position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the Federation (Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes, TVöD Bund), up to salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Potsdam. All doctoral candidates will be members of AWI's postgraduate program POLMAR or another graduate school and thus benefit from a comprehensive training program and extensive support measures.

    The AWI is characterised by

  • our scientific success - excellent research
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary
  • opportunities to develop – on the job and towards other positions
  • an international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world
  • flexible working hours
  • Health promotion and company fitness with qualitrain
  • support services and a culture of reconciling work and family
  • Occupational pension provision (VBL)
  • Jobticket
  • Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of employees who are women, and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

    Applicants with disabilities will be given preference when equal qualifications are present.

    The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

    We look forward to your application!

    Please submit your application by April 5 th, 2023 exclusively online. Reference number: 23/61/D/Geo-b


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