PhD position “Effects of river network fragmentation on ecosystem functioning”

Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
August 21 2017
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The Department of Ecohydrology at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) ( offers a:

PhD position “Effects of river network fragmentation on ecosystem functioning”

Fluvial ecosystems are an important element in the global carbon cycle metabolizing large amounts of terrigenous organic matter (tOM). This contributes to CO2 evasion fluxes that are under continuous reevaluation at the global scale. In contrast, research on the underlying processes is concentrated at the local ecosystem scale. This scale-gap seriously hampers process understanding across scales, limits upscaling accuracy, and reduces our scope of reaction strategies. The ERC Starting Grant Project FLUFLUX (“Fluvial Meta-Ecosystem Functioning: Unravelling Regional Ecological Controls Behind Fluvial Carbon Fluxes”) aims to develop a deeper mechanistic understanding of fluvial carbon fluxes by investigating ecological processes at the intermediate ‘regional' scale of the ‘fluvial network‘. In particular, respiration of tOM is hypothesized to be an interactive product of organismic diversity and resource diversity, which both follow conspicuous patterns in river networks. From an ecological perspective, river networks may be aptly termed ‘fluvial meta-ecosystems”.

The aim of the open PhD position is to investigate effects of fragmenting a lab-based fluvial model meta-ecosystem on patterns of biodiversity, resource diversity and resource use (i.e. respiration). Research tasks include designing the laboratory system in close collaboration with another PhD, designing and carrying through fragmentation experiments, analysis of microbial biodiversity by molecular biological tools (16S-rDNA based metabarcoding), analysis of chemical diversity of dissolved organic matter by high-resolution mass spectrometry and measurements of respiration by a smart tracer approach (Resazurin). Ecosystem modeling work could complement the experimental work.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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