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PhD Position in Statistics (RTG 2300, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

The Research Training Group (RTG) 2300 ‘Enrichment of European beech
forests with conifers: impacts of functional traits on ecosystem
functioning’ at the Georg-August-University Göttingen in Germany, is
currently inviting applications for

1 PhD Position in Statistics (75% TV-L E13)
(f, m, d)

starting on January 1, 2021. The position is funded by the German
Research Foundation (DFG) for 3 years.

The position is entitled ‘Bayesian Semiparametric Regression’ and
located in the Statistics and Econometrics group with Prof. Dr. Thomas
Kneib (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/264255.html). The general objective of
this subproject is to develop flexible and practical forms of regression
models for the type of data collected within the RTG. A particular focus
will be on distributional regression models as well as structural
equation models as flexible tools for modelling complex relations in
empirical data. By the time of employment, the successful candidate will
already have completed a very good M.Sc. degree in statistics, data
science, computer science, mathematics or other areas related to the
scientific work of the RTG with a strong focus on quantitative methods.

The interdisciplinary Research Training Group 2300...
... was established in 2017. The PhD students enrolled in this program
investigate ecological challenges and societal demands on forests in a
changing climate. The program focuses on European temperate forests. A
central goal is to uncover the impact of mixed compared to monospecific
forests on ecosystem functions and processes with a special focus on the
importance of functional traits. Our research approaches involve field
studies in European beech, Norway spruce and Douglas fir forests and
their mixtures, experimental studies to uncover cause-effect
relationships, and statistical as well as economic analyses. We
hypothesize that mixtures of European beech with conifers show higher
functional diversity than pure European beech stands, resulting in
higher resilience and providing multiple ecosystem services.
... offers a vibrant academic environment, joint supervision of PhD
candidates by thesis committees, and a structured study program with
many opportunities to improve scientific and personal skills. The
following research groups are offering PhD projects: silviculture, tree
physiology (mycorrhiza), plant ecology, soil sciences, animal ecology,
wildlife sciences, forest nature conservation, forest modelling, forest
economics, and spatial forest structures as well as applied statistics.
You can find detailed information on the individual positions below and
online at www.uni-goettingen.de/en/623417.html. General information on
the RTG2300 and the different projects are available at
www.uni-goettingen.de/grk2300.

We are seeking highly motivated candidates, who wish to conduct their
PhD training in an interdisciplinary environment. Successful candidates
• will have completed their MSc or equivalent university degree in a
subject area relevant for the RTG 2300 program (see details for the
different positions below)
• are fluent in English (IELTS min. 6.0 or equivalent) and motivated to
learn some German
• are eager to conduct field work
• are keen to collaborate and share data with their PhD colleagues
Your application must include (compiled as one pdf document!):
• curriculum vitae including information on posters, presentations,
awards and publication list, if applicable
• a motivation letter (maximum 1 page). In case you apply for more than
one project offered by the RTG (see below for details), please refer to
at most three projects in your motivation letter
• certificates of studies (if a degree is not yet completed you may also
provide a document listing your current grades)
• two references (name and contact information of two senior researchers)
• summary of your MA thesis and if applicable one publication

To apply for this position, please upload your application in one pdf
document via the online application site
https://lotus1.gwdg.de/uni/ufwb/grk_2300.nsf/enter and list subproject
10 as one of your priorities. Further application details are available
on the application site. The closing date for applications is August 2,
2020. We also encourage advanced Master candidates to apply but
successful completion of the MSc or equivalent university degree is
mandatory prior to employment.
If you have any questions, please contact the RTG’s coordinator Dr.
Serena Müller (grk2300-coordination@forst.uni-goettingen.de,
+49-551-3921217) or the Prof. Dr. Thomas Kneib
(tkneib@uni-goettingen.de) for subject specific questions.

The University of Göttingen is an equal opportunities employer and
places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women.
Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply as they are
underrepresented in the field. The university has committed itself to
being a family-friendly institution and supports their employees in
balancing work and family life. The mission of the University is to
employ a greater number of severely disabled persons. Applications from
severely disabled persons with equivalent qualifications will be given
preference.

Please note:
With submission of your application, you accept the processing of your
applicant data in accordance with the data-protection law. Further
information on the applicable law and data usage is provided in the
Hinweisblatt zur Datenschutzgrundverordnung (DSGVO)
(www.uni-goettingen.de/hinweisdsgvo).

Further subprojects offering PhD positions (f, m, d)

Subproject 1 entitled ‘Root distribution, water uptake and growth
responses’ (65 % TV-L E13) will be carried out by the Silviculture and
Forest Ecology working group of Prof. Dr. Christian Ammer
(www.uni-goettingen.de/en/67090.html). The successful candidate will
study soil water extraction in mixed and pure stands and analyze high
resolution dendrometer data on changes in stem diameter. Functional
traits will be determined by stable isotope analysis, including
labelling experiments, and analyzing temporal patterns of stem water
status. By the time of employment, the successful candidate will already
have completed a very good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences,
biological sciences, forest sciences, or a related field with advanced
knowledge of tree ecophysiology, stable isotope analysis and the
application of explorative statistics is required; knowledge on soil
water dynamics is advantageous.

Subproject 2 entitled ‘Tree water relations and drought response’ (65 %
TV-L E13) is located in the Plant Ecology working group of Prof. Dr.
Christoph Leuschner (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/71395.html). This project
seeks to understand responses of beech, spruce and Douglas fir to
drought in pure and mixed stands. The main goal is to analyze the tree
species’ sensitivity to climate warming by studying the water
consumption (sap flux), stem water storage and vulnerability to
desiccation (branch desiccation curves) in adult and juvenile trees. By
the time of employment, the successful candidate will already have
completed a very good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences, biological
sciences, forest sciences, or a related field. For this post, knowledge
of tree ecology, skills in ecophysiology/experimental plant ecology and
in explorative statistics is advantageous. Experience with ecological
field work is beneficial.

Subproject 3 entitled ‘Nutrient uptake and efficiency’ (65 % TV-L E13)
is located in the Soil Science of Temperate Ecosystems working group of
Prof. Dr. Norbert Lamersdorf (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/73134.html). The
main objective of the subproject is to study the nutrient uptake and
nutrient cycling of pure and mixed stands at the existing field sites
and within the joint pot experiment of the RTG. In close cooperation
with SP1 and SP4, stable isotopes will be applied to gain advanced
insights into nutrient uptake and use efficient strategies of the
applied species and their mixtures under variable soil conditions. By
the time of employment, the successful candidate will already have
completed a very good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences, biological
sciences, forest sciences, or a related field with profound knowledge in
standard field and lab soil science working procedures, experiences in
stable isotope applications as well as a strong understanding of
nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems.

Subproject 4 entitled ‘Ectomycorrhizal Functions for Tree Nutrition’ (65
% TV-L E13) is located in the Forest Botany and Tree Physiology working
group of Prof. Dr. Andrea Polle (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/67024.html).
The successful candidate will study traits of ectomycorrhizal fungi for
nitrogen and phosphorus nutrition and their links to tree nutrition at
the field sites of the RTG and in controlled experiments. Functional
traits will be determined by application of stable isotopes,
determination of enzymes by biochemical and sequencing techniques and
fungal identification. By the time of employment, the successful
candidate will already have completed a very good M.Sc. degree in
ecological sciences, biological sciences, forest sciences, or a related
field. Furthermore, experience with molecular or eco-physiological
methods and statistics is required; knowledge of ecological concepts is
advantageous.

Subproject 5 entitled ‘Decomposer community structure and decomposition
processes’ (65 % TV L E13) is located in the Animal Ecology group of
Prof. Dr. Stefan Scheu (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/107728.html). The main
objective of the subproject is to understand the response of the
decomposer food web and its functioning when planting Douglas-fir in
comparison to European beech and Norway spruce. By the time of
employment, the successful candidate will already have completed a very
good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences, biological sciences, forest
sciences, or a related field with skills/knowledge in entomology, soil
ecology, ecological concepts, statistics, programming and ecological
fieldwork. Knowledge of soil animal and microbial ecology as well as
food web ecology is beneficial.

Subproject 6 entitled ‘Arthropod diversity and functioning in mixed
versus pure stands’ (65 % TV-L E13) is located in the Forest Nature
Conservation group of Prof. Dr. Andreas Schuldt
(www.uni-goettingen.de/en/588022.html). The main goal of this subproject
is to analyze the impact of stand structure and tree species composition
on the community composition, diversity, and functions of arthropods
within and across different forest stand types. By the time of
employment, the successful candidate will already have completed a very
good M.Sc. degree in ecology, biological sciences, forest sciences, or a
related field. Knowledge of ecological concepts, arthropod
identification, statistics, and experience with ecological fieldwork are
essential. In addition, experience with the identification of birds or
bats (as predators of arthropods) is an asset. Furthermore, a driver’s
license is required.

Subproject 7 entitled ‘Effects of small mammal communities on seed
predation and seed dispersal’ (65 % TV-L E13) is located in the Wildlife
Sciences group of Prof. Dr. Niko Balkenhol
(www.uni-goettingen.de/en/450568.html). This subproject will
characterize the influences of tree mixing on small mammal communities
and associated seed removal. Specifically, we will evaluate how
different rodent species are affected by tree mixture and assess seed
preferences and seed removal movements of detected small mammal species.
Furthermore, we will assess whether differences in small mammal
communities alter seed predation rates and seed dispersal, respectively.
The subproject will involve a substantial amount of field work to map
habitat and to capture, radio-collar and track small mammals on
different forest plots, so candidates possessing relevant field
experience are particularly encouraged to apply. By the time of
employment, the successful candidate will already have completed a very
good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences, biological sciences, forest
sciences, or a related field with skills/knowledge in ecological
concepts, analysis of spatial data and ecological fieldwork.
Certifications in animal handling and care (e.g., European FELASA or
equivalent), and a driver’s license are beneficial.

Subproject 9 entitled ‘Predicting structural changes and growth in pure
and mixed stands of European beech, Norway spruce, and Douglas-fir’ (65
% TV-L E13) offers one PhD position in Forest Growth Research located in
the growth modelling group of PD Dr. Matthias Albert at the Northwest
German Forest Research Institute (NW-FVA), Göttingen
(www.nw-fva.de/index.php?id=16). The successful candidate will be
employed at the NW-FVA. The general objective of this subproject is to
refine existing crown models, analyze crown structure dynamics, and to
apply novel crown models in statistical growth models to predict single
tree growth. By the time of employment, the successful candidate will
already have completed a very good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences,
biological sciences, forest sciences, or a related field with knowledge
in growth modelling, statistics, and R programming. Experience with
field work and ecological concepts is beneficial.

Subproject 12 entitled ‘Economic implications of species mixture and
structural diversity in European beech stands enriched with coniferous
trees’ offers one position in bio-economic modelling (65 % TV-L E13)
located in the department of Forest Economics and Sustainable Land-use
Planning of Prof. Dr. Carola Paul
(www.uni-goettingen.de/en/586895.html). The main objective of this
subproject is to reveal the effects of tree species composition and
structural diversity on the expected level and stability of economic
returns. For this position candidates should have completed a very good
M.Sc. in forest sciences, ecological sciences, environmental economics
or a related field with skills/knowledge in bio-economic and statistical
programming.

Subproject 13 entitled ‘Architectural traits of trees in response to
different neighborhoods and their importance for stand structural
characteristics’ (65 % TV-L E13) is located within the junior research
group “Laser scanning” of Dr. Dominik Seidel and affiliated with the
silviculture group of Prof. Dr. Christian Ammer
(www.uni-goettingen.de/en/75916.html). The main objective of this
subproject is to quantify the effects of tree species mixture on
single-tree architectural traits of beech, fir and Douglas-Fir trees
(e.g. symmetry, branching pattern, fractal characteristics, crown
surface area) and how they determine the overall stand characteristics,
such as space occupation or stand structural complexity. By the time of
employment, the successful candidate will already have completed a very
good M.Sc. degree in ecological sciences, biological sciences, forest
sciences, or a related field with skills/knowledge in ecological
concepts, statistics, programming and ecological fieldwork. For this
position, a deep interest in spatial data, 3D data and analysis and
laser scanning is mandatory.

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