PhD Student In Physiological Tree Ecology

Country: Switzerland;

City: Basel

Vacancy added: 10.10.2018

Employer: University of Basel


The Physiological Plant Ecology group at the University of Basel, Switzerland is looking for a PhD Student in Physiological Tree Ecology

The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and aims at investigating the spatial and temporal dynamics of growth, leaf gas exchange, carbon reserve storage and water relations of mature trees along the steep microclimatic gradient within the canopy of a temperate mixed forest. The project will be conducted at the newly established Swiss Canopy Crane II site (, where a crane enables the in situ investigation of tree crowns of over 250 mature tree individuals from ten different species by means of a manned gondola. By simultaneously investigating growth, carbon- and water-relations directly within the canopy of different tree species, this project will reveal functional interrelations of these processes that are key to better understand tree responses to environmental stresses, like drought. The explicit consideration of differences along the environmental gradient in the canopies will deliver three-dimensional information of the observed processes, which will be also necessary for the development of more realistic dynamic tree and forest models.

Your position
The PhD candidate will perform field measurements of tree physiological processes and the micro-climate in mature tree crowns at the Swiss Canopy Crane II facility. These measurements will be synthesized to model the spatio-temporal dynamics of growth, carbon- and water-relations in the canopy of a temperate mixed forest stand.

Your profile
We are looking for a dynamic, reliable and motivated student with M.Sc./Diploma in biology, forestry, plant ecology or related disciplines. Strong interest in process-oriented research in tree physiology and hands-on experiences with ecophysiological methods (e.g. leaf gas-exchange, plant water potential) are beneficial. Ideally, the candidate has experience with statistical data handling and modelling. The candidate should have a driving license (class B) and needs to be able to work in heights of over 20 m from a secured crane gondola. Teamwork within the group and project partners requires spoken and written English language skills.

We offer you
The research will be carried out within a 4-year project, starting February 2019. We offer an interesting position in an international, interdisciplinary research environment at the University of Basel. Salary and social benefits are provided according to University of Basel rules.

Application / Contact
Please send your complete application (CV, letter of motivation,
contact information of three references) to Mrs. Maura Ellenberger ( Application deadline is
November 18th 2018. Further information can be obtained from
PD Dr. Günter Hoch (

Where to send resume: