The Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems Group at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen is looking to fill the position of a

PhD student (tropical forest nutrient limitation)

in the DFG funded project entitled: "Nutrient limitations in a Ugandan tropical forest". The position will be limited to 3 years and starts on November 1, 2017. Salary: this is in accordance with the German public service salary scale (65% of TV-L E13).

Your duties

The project aims to assess the roles of multiple nutrient limitations on ecosystem productivity and carbon sequestration. In the framework of a replicated nutrient manipulation field experiment in a Ugandan tropical forest, the PhD student will assess how the additions of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) (and all their combinations) will affect forest net primary production (above- and belowground), soil N cycling, and soil nutrient availability. The PhD student will coordinate a field team to measure: forest biomass inventory (yearly), tree diameter growth (bi-monthly for 2 years), litter production (bi-weekly for 2 years), leaf litter and foliar nutrient analysis (yearly), soil biochemical characterization (once), and plant-available N, P and microbial biomass in the soil (twice a year for 2 years). The PhD student will also have to oversee the project when the principle investigator is in Germany. Finally, the PhD student will fulfill the requirements for completion of a PhD degree.

The project will be based in Göttingen, but fieldwork will be conducted in Uganda.

Your profile

For this project we seek a highly motivated and competent PhD student with the following credentials/skills:

  • Completed Master's degree in (geo)ecology, soil science, forestry or biology
  • Research focus on terrestrial ecosystem ecology and biogeochemical processes
  • Excellent proficiency in English
  • Very organized
  • Project coordination skills
  • Ability to work under difficult field conditions in the tropics for an intermittent period of up to 18 months

The University of Göttingen is an equal opportunities employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women. Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply in fields in which they are underrepresented. The university has committed itself to being a family-friendly institution and supports their employees in balancing work and family life. The mission of the University is to employ a greater number of severely disabled persons. Applications from severely disabled persons with equivalent qualifications will be given preference.

Application procedure: To apply, please send your application with supporting documents (application letter, CV, copies of transcript of records of your BSc and MSc, relevant document to show research or field experience in MSc thesis, IELTS or TOEFL, contact information of references) in electronic form as a single pdf-file by September 8, 2017 to Dr. Oliver van Straaten, Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems, University of Goettingen, Buesgenweg 2, 37077 Goettingen, Germany. E-mail:

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Oliver van Straaten (phone: +49(0)551/39-33513, email: For more information about our team see:

The documents will be destroyed after a period of three months.

posted: 07 August 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.