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PhD Student (m/f/d) “Evolution of molluscan adaptations”

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  Ms Isabel Gajcevic  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Job posting ref. #01-21053

For over 200 years the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung represents one of the most relevant institutions investigating nature and its diversity. Currently, scientists from more than 40 countries conduct research in the fields of biodiversity, earth system analysis and climate change in seven Senckenberg Institutes across Germany.

Following its mission to analyse and document biodiversity in earth system dynamics – to serve science and society, Senckenberg fosters curiosity-driven and application-oriented research. In Senckenberg at Frankfurt we seek to fill the position with a


PhD student (m/f/d) “Evolution of molluscan adaptations”

(part-time, 65%)

The project PHENOME (from Phenome to genome: How Exceptional Novelties Open the Mechanisms of Evolution) is a five-year project examining extraordinary molluscs funded by the Leibniz Association. The work will also benefit from close connection to the Senckenberg Ocean Species Alliance (SOSA), a new project combining marine biodiversity research, species conservation, and science communication.

A funded PhD student will be trained in specialist lab techniques to describe the anatomy of the focal species, none of which have been visualised using 3D techniques. These descriptive studies will provide a new comparative context to interpret the morphofunction of special structures and adaptive novelties. This will be complemented with additional phylogenetic analyses, adding additional transcriptome data from other ingroup species where possible to test the phylogenetic placement of the comparative sets (target species with novel body plans, and comparative groups).

Your tasks:

·      Study morphological and genomic differentiation in select mollusc lineages representing extreme morphological adaptations

·      Using tomographic visualisation (digital 3D models) to describe and understand evolutionary novelties

·      Work collaboratively with bioinformatics specialists to compare analyse genomic data

·      Conduct research visits to partnering institutions

·      Publish results in international journals in cooperation with the project team

·      Present project results during international scientific conferences (posters/ talks)

·      Participate in outreach activities

Your profile:

·      MSc degree in a relevant field, such as biology, zoology, biosystematics

·      Genuine passion for marine biodiversity

·      Lab experience with microscopy, histology, and/ or DNA work

·      Excellent English skills

·      Knowledge of and experience with molecular methods (e.g. DNA barcoding, ancient DNA) and marine molluscs

·      Willingness to participate in international fieldwork


What can you expect?

·      An interesting task in a dynamic and interdisciplinary team of researchers in a large-scale international research project

·      Affiliation with Goethe University Frankfurt and membership in its graduate academy GRADE

·      Flexible working hours - a discounted job ticket - support with childcare or caring for family members (certified by the "audit berufundfamilie") - Senckenberg badge in combination with free admission to many municipal museums - special annual payment - holiday entitlement of 30 days/year- company pension scheme


The Senckenberg Research Institutes support equal opportunity of men and women and therefore strongly invite women to apply. Equally qualified handicapped applicants will be given preference. The place of employment is in Frankfurt, Germany. We guarantee adherence to the law on part-time employment.

Senckenberg is a globally connected institute. The working language within this project is English. Frankfurt is a vibrant, international, culturally diverse city and one of the world’s travel hubs. We welcome candidates from all nations and support with your relocation process.

Location:                               Frankfurt am Main

Volume of employment:      65% part-time position (26 weekly working hours)

Type of contract:                  Employment shall start as soon as possible after March 2022 and will be limited for a three-year contract



Would you like to apply?

 Please submit your documents, mentioning the reference of this job posting (ref.#01-21053), as a single email attachment to [Email Address Removed] until 27 February 2022 or use our online application form on our homepage

1)   A cover letter (maximum 1-2 pages) explaining your interest in the project and your relevant prior experience;

2)    Your detailed CV, including names and contact details of two professional references;

3)    Copies of your relevant academic certificates and credentials, such as your university degrees.


For more information, please see or contact the SOSA Co-Chairs: Dr. Torben Riehl and Prof. Dr Julia Sigwart (,
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