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PhD candidate to investigate the biodiversity of epiphytic bryophytes and lichens in Dutch cities

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
24 mei 2022
5 juni 2022 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science Leiden and The Hortus botanicus Leiden are looking for a

PhD candidate to Investigate the biodiversity of epiphytic bryophytes and lichens in Dutch cities

The Hortus botanicus Leiden is a source of knowledge and research. Do you have an inspiring and a future-oriented view on sustainability and environmental issues? Are you looking for a challenging environment where you’ll work together with various other PhD students, scientists and Citizen Scientists in a large project? You might be our new PhD student to investigate the biodiversity of epiphytic bryophytes and lichens in Dutch cities.

The Faculty of Science Leiden and The Hortus botanicus Leiden are looking for a PhD candidate to investigate the biodiversity of epiphytic bryophytes and lichens in Dutch cities

Trees are a central element of the urban green infrastructure. They increase the quality of the urban living environment by providing diverse ecosystem services to city dwellers. Trees also serve as a habitat for a variety of other organisms, such as epiphytic bryophytes and lichens. Air pollution and the urban climate, however, pose challenges to epiphyte growth in cities. While epiphyte diversity in Dutch cities has increased during the last decades due to generally cleaner air, patterns of diversity under contemporary urban conditions remain incompletely known and understood.

This PhD project will investigate the role of trees as habitat for epiphytic bryophytes and lichens in Dutch cities, focusing on Amsterdam, Leiden and Rotterdam. Epiphyte diversity and abundance will be studied along different spatial and temporal axes: 1) young to old trees, 2) trunk versus crown (in relation to urban tree management practices), and 3) “green oases'' (Vondelpark Amsterdam, Hortus botanicus Leiden, Arboretum Trompenburg Rotterdam) versus streets with less favorable conditions. The obtained biodiversity data will be analyzed statistically, including analysis of temperature and precipitation from data loggers.

The PhD project is part of the HiddenBiodiversity project financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) under the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). HiddenBiodiversity comprises a diverse consortium of partners from universities, universities of applied sciences, municipalities, companies, nature organizations and other societal stakeholders. The candidate will work closely together with different consortium partners and in particular with three other PhD candidates, who will address soil prokaryotic and fungal diversity (Naturalis Biodiversity Center), soil animal diversity (VU Amsterdam), and ecosystem services of mosses (TU Delft), respectively. In addition to the core topic described above, the candidate will specifically collaborate with the PhD projects at VU Amsterdam and TU Delft to quantify selected ecosystem services of epiphytic mosses (habitat for invertebrate diversity, removal of air contaminants, water retention, CO2 mitigation).

The PhD project will be carried out at Hortus botanicus Leiden and at Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Michael Stech (Naturalis) and Prof. dr. Paul Keßler. The candidate will receive his/her PhD degree at Leiden University and Prof. dr. Paul Keßler will be the promotor.

Selection Criteria

The candidate must have a MSc degree in a relevant field (for example, biodiversity, ecology, environmental science) with a strong interest in epiphyte diversity and ecology.  Preferably the candidate has experience with field work, molecular lab work and/or common statistical methods. Excellent knowledge of the English language (written and verbal) and at least basic knowledge of the Dutch language is essential, as well as a scientific and critical attitude, outstanding time management and organizational skills, and the ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within the project consortium and the Hortus botanicus and  Naturalis research groups. The candidate should have good communication skills and be enthusiastic to contribute to knowledge dissemination and outreach activities within the HiddenBiodiversity project. Teaching experience is an advantage.

Research at our faculty

The Hortus botanicus belongs to the Faculty of Science at Leiden University. The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelors’ and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.  You can find more information about the faculty of Science at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/about-faculty-of-science.

Hortus botanicus

The Hortus botanicus Leiden is the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands. Founded in 1590 and expanded in the following centuries, the Hortus is the green heart of Leiden. Carolus Clusius, the first prefect, grew the first large tulip collections in Europe, and Philipp Franz von Siebold introduced about 700 hitherto unknown plants from Japan and China. Visitors can go here for a relaxing walk; researchers from all over the world come here to study the renowned Hortus collection, especially orchids, carnivorous plants and other taxa. For more information about the Hortus, see our website https://www.hortusleiden.nl/de-hortus.

Terms and conditions

The position will start by 1 September 2022. We offer a 1-year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance and following the pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Salary ranges from € 2.443 gross per month in the first year to € 3.122 gross per month in the fourth year based on a full-time position. Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

The Hortus botanicus Leiden and Naturalis Biodiversity Center are providing an inspiring working environment with various possibilities to develop scientifically and personally. All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skill trainings and personal effectiveness. In addition advances courses to deepen scientific knowledges are offered by the research school.

Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities. Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential. Will you become our newest colleague?

Do you have questions about this position? Please contact Prof. Dr. Paul J.A. Keßler, prefect, p.j.a.kessler@hortus.leidenuniv.nl, +31 71 5275144. Do you have questions about the recruitment process, please contact Nuala Teerink,  hortus@hortus.leidenuniv.nl,  +31 71 527 5144. For more information about working at Leiden university please visit https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at.

Are you enthusiastic about this vacancy? We are looking forward to get to know you. Please send an e-mail to Nuala Teerink, hortus@hortus.leidenuniv.nl. The closing date is 5 June 2022. Please  ensure that you include the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • Motivation letter;
  • Full curriculum vitae, including a list of publications;
  • Contact details of two persons who can be contacted for reference.

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