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Understanding global diversity patterns of non-vascular vegetation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Lichens and mosses are a globally abundant and highly diverse group of (non-vascular) vegetation, which perform crucial ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration or biotic fixation of nitrogen. However, compared to trees and grasses, they are relatively little researched. In particular, mechanisms which may explain global diversity patterns of lichens and mosses are largely unknown. There is no explanation so far why mosses do not show a global maximum in diversity in the tropics, in contrast to other plants. The diversity of these organisms, however, may be crucial for the maintenance of their ecosystem services. Moreover, it is unclear which consequences climate change will have for their diversity.

The project has three main aims:

(1) Development of a process-based, global model for diversity of lichens and mosses, based on existing approaches
(2) Simulation of global diversity patterns of the organisms and comparison to observations
(3) Prediction of future changes in diversity of lichens and mosses in the course of climate change, and drafting of conservation measures.

This fully-funded PhD position offers opportunities for training in global vegetation modeling and associated, transferable skills, such as programming and high performance computing. The high relevance of quantitative biodiversity research and the novelty of the topic will allow for high impact publications. Further information can be found under the above web link.

The required skills for the position are: A university degree in a relevant field, very good written and spoken English skills, and interest in numeric simulation models of biological processes. Experience with Unix/Linux is an asset.

Please send applications, including a cover letter, a tabular curriculum vitae, and copies of degree certificate(s), to

Link to advert (pdf):

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