PhD positions, Arctic plant & boreal tree paleogen. & paleoecol. - Potsdam, Germany

PhD positions are available in Arctic plant & boreal tree paleogenomics and paleoecology at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Potsdam, Germany.


AWI is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

The positions are limited to three years and start as soon as possible, but latest 1 October 2019. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), up to salary level 13. The place of employment will be Potsdam.

As a PhD student at AWI, you will be a member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research (POLMAR) or another graduate school.


Arctic ecosystems are characterized by strong changes not only today but also in the past which has hitherto only partially been documented by classical paleoecological approaches.

One position will focus on Siberian Arctic biodiversity change. As part of this position, the new tool of sedimentary ancient DNA will be applied and further developed and compared to results from classical methods including pollen analysis. Siberian forests are unique. Most of the area is covered by deciduous larch forests that can grow on permafrost.

As part of the second position, genetic/genomic analyses of modern trees and of DNA preserved in sediments will be applied to identify the long-term biogeographical pattern of the different Larix taxa (and other tree taxa including pine and spruce) as well as their specific adaptations.


- You should hold a MSc or PhD degree in biology, geoscience, or related fields
- Good English language skills are a prerequisite
- A willingness to participate in field campaigns in Siberia is a requirement

Desirable skills and knowledge

- Practical experience with standard molecular genetic techniques, palaeoecology, bioinformatics or Arctic vegetation are of advantage.


Applications close 31 July 2019. Only online applications are accepted.

Please use reference number 61/D/Geo-b.

To apply, go to:

Further information

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Ulrike Herzschuh: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.