PhD scholarship in aquatic biodiversity/ecology in Essen

About the position
A position as a PhD Research Fellow in aquatic ecology is avilable at the Faculty for Biology, Department Biodiversity, led by Prof. Jens Boenigk. The focus of this group is on the evolution and taxonomic and functional diversity of aquatic microorganisms. Expertise of the members within the group covers a broadness of methods ranging from classical plankton ecology and limnology to molecular amplicon diversity, transcriptomics and genomics further to metatranscripomics and –genomics including the bioinformatics tools for dealing with such data.

The fellowship will be for a period of 3 years.
Scholarship amount: 1500€ / month (net)
Starting date: As soon as possible
Application deadline: 15.10.2019

Activities and responsibilities

Job description
The candidate will work on a project entitled ”Differential potential of metabarcoding, metatranscriptomics, and metagenomics for the assessment of lake water quality”, financed by the Bauer und Stemmler foundations. The overall objective of this project is to assess the potential of molecular data from microbial communities (metabarcoding, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) to act as indicators of water quality. This work will be based on an existing dataset comprising samples from 250 european lakes and further field sampling and laboratory work is planned within the project to extend the dataset.
The project entails field sampling, molecular lab work, bioinformatic analyses of amplicon/metabarcoding, metagenomic and transcriptomic data, as well as statistical analysis of gradients in the data (both in terms of taxonomic and functional diversity), and correlations between these gradients and environmental (physicochemical) variables.
The focus of the PhD-thesis will be on the bioinformatics and statistical analyses, while the sampling and molecular work will be  a joint effort with another PhD project. The main emphasis can be adjusted according to the research interests and qualifications of the successful candidate.
Further description of the project can be provided upon request.

Qualification profile

We are looking for a candidate with a strong interest in the ecology of aquatic microorganisms, experience with bioinformatics, and who is interested in further developing their skills in bioinformatics and statistical analysis of meta*omics data.

  • A master’s degree or equivalent in biology, ecology, bioinformatics or related fields
  • Experience with (statistical) programming languages such as R or Python, and/or experience with bioinformatic processing of amplicon/metabarcoding, metagenomic- or metatranscriptomic data is a requirement
  • Experience with field sampling and molecular lab work (DNA/RNA isolation, PCR) is an advantage
  • Fluent English or German

Send application to

How to apply
Interested candidates should send a brief statement of research interests/motivation, CV, certificates/transcripts of grades and names and contact information of two references, as one pdf file to Dr. Daniela Beisser (

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: bauer-1

About Fachgruppe Biodiversität - Uni. Duisburg-Essen

Evolutionäre Ökologie und funktionelle Biodiversität sind die Forschungsschwerpunkte der Arbeitsgruppe Biodiversität. Wir untersuchen Zusammenhänge und Wechselwirkungen zwischen Biodiversität, funktioneller Differenzierung von eukaryotischen Mikroorganismen (Algen und heterotrophe Protisten) und Ökosystemfunktionen.
More about Fachgruppe Biodiversität - Uni. Duisburg-Essen