PhD Position
on Biogeochemical Modelling

The research group is dedicated to a better understanding of the role of Vegetation-Soil feedbacks for biogeochemical cycles within the Earth System. In particular we are focusing on the interaction between the carbon and water cycles at different spatial and temporal scales. The exploration and synthesis of local data (e.g. ecosystem carbon and water flux data, soil profile information) and spatial data (e.g. remote sensing, spatial data bases) will play a pivotal role in this context.

The PhD candidate will work on the improvement of remote sensing driven biogeochemical models with particular emphasis on the detection of drought effects on vegetation ecosystem productivity from local to continental scales. Eddy covariance CO2 and H2O flux data observed at FLUXNET sites ( will play a pivotal role for model development, calibration and validation and will be linked to the biogeochemical models via advanced model-data fusion techniques.

Key requirements for this position are scientific enthusiasm, strong abilities in quantitative, abstract and system-oriented thinking and the ambition to publish results in international peer-reviewed journals (English language), as well as advanced practical skills with respect to computer-based data analysis and scientific programming. Candidates with background (Diploma or equivalent) in any quantitative science (e.g. geo-ecology or other geo-science, environmental and natural sciences, applied mathematics, statistics or computer science) are eligible for this position, given their strong motivation to complement their past training. Experience with at least one of the following topics is helpful (no particular order): applied remote sensing, ecosystem CO2 and energy flux data, advanced statistical data analysis and system modeling, soil or vegetation ecology.

We offer you an international, highly creative and dynamic work environment at one of the European key institutions for biogeochemical cycle studies. The training and qualification of the PhD student is regarded as an important goal within the group and the candidate is likely to achieve a high attractiveness in diverse professional fields through the methodological competence gained during the anticipated PhD-project. Jena is an attractive, lively town with a strong university, several high-tech companies, a beautiful hilly landscape and fast train connections to Metropolitan Areas like 2½ hours to Berlin.

Salary follows the rules of the German public service or is granted as scholarship on a case basis. The Max-Plank-Society seeks to increase the number of female scientists and encourages them to apply. Handicapped persons with comparable qualifications receive preferential status.

Please include in your application your motivations, a curriculum vitae, copies of your high-school and academic certificates, a list of publications/presentations/qualifications, and names and contact information of at least two references. Please also attach the 1-3 most representative and valuable examples of your past scientific work (submitted manuscripts will of course be treated confidentially). Applications should arrive before August, 16st at: Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie; Dr. Markus Reichstein; Postfach 100164; D-07701 Jena, or preferably via e-mail as one or two pdf-files to; regarding questions please contact Dr. Markus Reichstein via or at ++49-3641-576273. Interviews are anticipated for the week of August, 21st.