Two doctoral researcher positions: Ecohydrological transit times in forest ecosystems

Stellenanangebot Doktorand/PhD in Freiburg | Deutschland


We invite applications for two PhD student positions. The positions are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) project “Using advances in stable water isotopy to quantify species- and interspecific ecohydrological feedback processes and water transit times of different tree stands” and will be located at the Chair of Hydrology and Chair of Ecosystem Physiology at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Significant changes in hydrological extremes are predicted to increase in occurrence and severity in the future. Understanding the complex linkages and interactions between precipitation inputs, water storage in the soil, as well as recharge and runoff is still a major challenge in ecohydrology. Distinct plant species differ significantly in their water use strategies. Detailed knowledge on species-specific alterations of soil infiltration, hydraulic redistribution, and root-water uptake dynamics will become important under future climatic conditions and the development of adaptation strategies for a sustainable forest ecosystem management. Thus, the central aim of our project is to quantify temporal dynamics at the soil-tree interface and how they influence water flow through the ecohydrological cycle using stable water isotopy. We will combine high spatial resolution of isotopic, hydrometric, classical and novel plant eco-physiological measurements with continuous long-term monitoring. A special focus will be on unravelling the ages of water within the different ecohydrological compartments and estimate the response and transit times of water within different tree stands via ecohydrological modelling.

Within the project, PhD student 1 will focus on tree-soil feedbacks and the investigation of seasonal dynamics of ecosystems’ water sources and related species-specific effects. PhD student 2 will mainly focus on setting up the ecohydrological model and simulate the relevant ecohydrological processes with regard to species- and interspecific impacts on water response and transit times. Both PhD students will work together in the field for the innovative data collection.

Applicants should have a MSc degree (or equiv.) in hydrology, environmental science, plant physiology, ecology, engineering or a closely related field. Particular experience in plant ecophysiological field observations and knowledge on plant water relations and stable water isotope ecology is an asset for PhD student 1. Experience in handling larger data sets is a bonus. Knowledge in statistical data analysis and in environmental modeling, preferably ecohydrological modeling, is essential for PhD student 2. Experience in water isotope related modelling will be an asset. We encourage applications from enthusiastic dedicated individuals with strong quantitative skills as well as good writing and communication skills in English. Candidates should be willing to conduct physically demanding field work over several days at a nearby forest, show team spirit, flexibility, high motivation and the ability to work independently. Candidates should hold a driving license.

We offer an interdisciplinary, international working environment within the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources of the University of Freiburg including a graduate school program ( The PhD positions will be advised by Prof. Dr. Christiane Werner and Dr. Maren Dubbert (PhD student 1) and Dr. Natalie Orlowski and Prof. Dr. Markus Weiler (PhD student 2). Collaboration and co-advising by local and international partners (such as Prof. Dr. Jeff McDonnell, University of Saskatchewan, Canada) is foreseen.

The file should include a cover and motivation letter stating which of the two positions you are interested in, CV, certificate & transcript of your highest degree earned, an example of your own scientific writing (thesis or paper in English, if available), and the names and contact details of at least two persons who will be able to provide references on demand.

The positions are limited to 31.12.2023. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13.

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00001112, by 30.09.2020 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

PhD Position 1:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Professur für Ökosystemphysiologie
Prof. Dr. Christiane Werner
Georges-Köhler-Allee 053 / 054
79110 Freiburg

PhD Position 2:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Professur für Hydrologie
Dr. Natalie Orlowski
Friedrichstr. 39
79098 Freiburg

E-Mail (please submit the above-mentioned documents as one PDF file):

For further information, please contact Frau Dr. Natalie Ramona Orlowski on the phone number +49 761 203-9283 or E-Mail natalie.orlowski(at)


öffentliche StelleTeilzeitbefristet

Bewerbungsschluss: 30.09.2020

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg



Zur Webseite des Arbeitgebers