Doctoral Researcher - German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

Application Deadline: 
30 Jun 2018

Position: Doctoral Researcher “Genomic signatures of palms with megafaunal fruits on Madagascar”

Contract: initially limited until 30 September, 2020 (iDiv funding period), 65 % of a full-time employment

Salary: Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L

The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig is one of four National Research Centres funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Its central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory in this emerging field.

The Evolution & Adaptation research group focuses on the interchange between (macro-) ecology and evolution, to understand the global distribution of genetic, taxonomic and functional diversity. We investigate microevolutionary processes to understand how these play out over macro-evolutionary time scales. Understanding these patterns and the processes underlying them is important for predicting how adaptable biodiversity is to current and future global change.  

In this project we aim to investigate the micro- and macroevolutionary consequences of dispersal limitation for megafaunal-fruited palms on Madagascar, using a comparative framework. Specifically, we aim to

(i) identify genomic signatures of dispersal limitation in megafaunal-fruited palm populations,

(ii) reconstruct demographic history and identify historical genetic bottlenecks in these species, and

(iii) evaluate whether these species may be adapting to dispersal by smaller-bodied frugivores, by evolving smaller fruits with smaller seeds.

Job description:

- collecting genetic samples from palm populations on Madagascar, and measuring their functional traits

- identifying Malagasy frugivore communities and their functional traits

- using novel genomic techniques (e.g. RAD sequencing) to infer connectivity, demographic history and phylogeographical patterns

- writing and publishing of scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals

- presentation of results at international conferences

- participation in iDiv’s PhD training program yDiv


Applicants should hold a Master’s or equivalent degree in a related field of research (e.g. ecology, (molecular) biology, genetics, phylogenetics, phylogeography).

The successful candidate should be innovative, able to work on his or her own initiative, and willing to spend several months in the field (Madagascar). Therefore prior experience with tropical fieldwork and basic living conditions is advantageous.

Furthermore, the successful candidate should have prior experience using molecular techniques, preferably with bioinformatics for large genetic/genomic datasets.

An interest in acquiring additional necessary skills (e.g. programming) for handling and statistically analyzing large datasets is essential.

Candidates should be team-oriented and have strong organizational skills, in order to manage this collaborative research project within an international consortium.

Excellent English communication skills (speaking and writing) are required.

We seek candidates with an independent mind and the ambition to publish in internationally leading journals.

Applications should include: cover letter (in English) describing motivation for the project, research interests & relevant experience; complete curriculum vitae including names and contact details of at least two scientific references; digital copy of masters certificate and a PDF of one publication or thesis chapter.

Applications with reference file number 125/2018 are accepted via our application portal under We prefer applications via our application portal, hard copy applications can be sent to German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research – iDiv; yDiv; Deutscher Platz 5e; 04103 Leipzig.

For queries on the application process, please contact Dr. Nicole Sachmerda-Schulz (; for research project questions, contact Dr. Renske Onstein (