Job advertisement

Vacancy ID: 403/2022
Closing date: 2022-12-08


Friedrich Schiller University is a traditional university with a strong research profile rooted in the heart of Germany. As a university covering all disciplines, it offers a wide range of subjects. Its research is focused on the areas Light—Life—Liberty. It is closely networked with non-research institutions, research companies and renowned cultural institutions. With around 18,000 students and more than 8,600 employees, the university plays a major role in shaping Jena’s character as a cosmopolitan and future-oriented city.

The German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig seeks to fill the position of a

Postdoctoral Researcher
on the iDiv flexpool project
“Traversing the canopy – how do transport processes of microbes and matter shape phyllosphere microbial communities?”

commencing on 1 February 2023 or on the earliest opportunity.
The position is limited until 30 September 2024. The place of work is the Institute for Biodiversity at the FSU Jena.

The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig is a National Research Centre funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Its central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory in this emerging field. It is jointly hosted by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU), the University of Leipzig (UL), and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). For more information please visit:

The project aims at understanding key controls of microbial diversity in forest tree canopies. We are seeking applicants who are interested in working in an interdisciplinary project integrating aspects of microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and plant functional ecology with the option to participate in field work campaigns at the Leipzig Canopy Crane Facility. The postdoctoral researcher will tackle the question how transport processes of microbes and nutrients within tree canopies shape phyllosphere and cortisphere microbial communities. In addition, the project will look into how these relationships are modulated by phenology driven changes of the plant host, and by canopy structure.
The project is supervised by Dr. Martina Herrmann (Institute of Biodiversity) and Prof. Dr. Beate Michalzik (Institute of Geography) and will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth (Leipzig University).

Your responsibilities:

    • Analysis of microbial communities of phyllosphere, cortisphere, throughfall and stemflow using molecular approaches/amplicon sequencing
    • Application of tools such as PICRUSt2 and community assembly models to analyse phyllosphere microbial community dynamics and functional potential
    • Writing and publishing scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals
    • Presenting results at national and international conferences

Your profile:

    • PhD degree in a project-related field (e.g., microbiology, ecology, environmental sciences, biogeosciences)
    • Strong background in microbial ecology
    • Strong expertise and experience in methods of molecular microbial ecology including analysis of amplicon sequencing data
    • Strong statistical skills (e. g., in R)
    • Ability to work in 30 m height in a gondola attached to a crane at the canopy crane facility would be an advantage
    • Excellent English communication skills (spoken and written)
    • Highly motivated and team-oriented individuals with a strong interest and ability in interdisciplinary research

We offer:

    • Interdisciplinary research at the interface of Microbial Ecology, Biogeochemistry and Plant Ecology
    • Excellent equipment and infrastructure
    • An already existing, comprehensive dataset of microbial and chemical data from ongoing research activities
    • Flexible working hours and a family-friendly working environment
    • Participation in our iDiv postdoc career support programme
    • University health promotion and a wide range of university sports activities
    • Attractive fringe benefits, e.g. capital formation benefits (VL), Job Ticket (benefits for public transport), and an occupational pension (VBL)
    • Remuneration based on the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Public Sector of the Federal States (TV-L) at salary scale 13—depending on the candidate’s personal qualifications—, including a special annual payment in accordance with the collective agreement.

Participating Institutions:

Are you eager to work with us? Kindly send your application, quoting the vacancy 403/2022, via our application portal at by 04.12.2022**,** extended to 08.12.2022. While we prefer applications via this portal, hard-copy applications may also be sent to: German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research –iDiv (Halle-Jena-Leipzig), Scientific Networks, Puschstr. 4, 04103 Leipzig.

Queries concerning the application process should be directed to, for project-related questions, please contact Dr Martina Herrmann (

All applications should include:

  • Cover letter describing the motivation for the project, research interests, and relevant experience
  • Complete curriculum vitae including names and contact details of at least two scientific references
  • A digital copy of MSc and PhD certificates

Candidates with severe disabilities will be given preference in the case of equal qualifications and suitability.

iDiv is committed to establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive community that collectively supports and implements our mission to do great science. We will welcome, recruit, develop, and advance talented staff from diverse genders and backgrounds.

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