PhD Studentship in Plant Communities

A PhD Studentship is available to work on the topic: Impacts of spatial variation in soil properties on plant diversity in relation to anthropogenic habitat change in Malaysian Borneo

Workplace: Institute of Entomology
Department: Department of Ecology
Laboratory: Laboratory of Ecology and Evolution of Social Insects
Employment relationship: Employment contract
Job type: Researcher
Researcher profile: R1
Duration: Fixed-term
Job status: Full-time
Job starting date: 1. 5. 2024
Application deadline: 28. 2. 2024

JOB DESCRIPTION:

A highly motivated postgraduate student is sought to join a project exploring links between soil dwelling social insects, soil properties and plant diversity in tropical rainforest. The student will focus on the part of the project linking soil properties to plant communities.

We hypothesise that small-scale spatial turnover in ant/termite composition will result in strong spatial heterogeneity at this scale, hence increasing the range of soil property niches available to plants. Loss of soil dwelling social insects to logging and conversion to oil palm plantations reduces social insect diversity, and we hypothesise that this will reduce the ability of this arthropod group to support diverse plant communities via impacts on soil properties.

The student will use a combination of field surveys for plants, assays for soil properties, field-based experimental manipulations to explore soil-plant links, and collaboration with ongoing long-term research being conducted in large scale permanent vegetation plots. Field work will be based in Danum Valley Field Centre, a world leading tropical field station. Duties will include spending extensive periods of time in the field in Malaysian Borneo. There will also be opportunities to develop the project in a direction of the students’ own choosing, and to form collaborations with a range of international partners.

REQUIREMENTS:

•    A master’s degree (non-negotiable requirement for PhD study in Czech Republic).
•    Interest in the plant ecology or soil science.
•    1st or upper second (2.1) undergraduate degree in ecology or related subject (or equivalent: https://tinyurl.com/y2kcw2c8)
•    Enthusiasm for working in the field for extended periods of time in challenging conditions in tropical rain forest.
•    Ability to work independently, manage small teams of assistants, and collaborate with other team members.
•    Fluency in spoken and written English.
•    Experience in the use of ecological statistical analyses.

Desirable
•    Previous experience of tropical field work.
•    Research experience with ecology/soil science.
•    Experience with scientific publishing in the above fields.

BENEFITS:

• 5 weeks of paid holiday yearly (for 1 FTE)
• Subsidized lunches in our own canteen
• Standard health insurance and social security
• Benefits from Social fund and student benefits
• Working in a stable, prestigious research institution of international importance
• Welcome service and further support for foreigners (HR Award)
• Friendly & stimulating international working environment
• Work-life balance in a middle-sized university city offering options for outdoor, sport & cultural activities
• Free language classes (Czech for foreigners, English for Czechs)
• Opportunity to take part in mentoring programmes as a mentor or a mentee
• Concessionary services at the contractual operator and bank
• Access to accommodation in dormitories at the campus shared by the BC and the USB

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The students will be employed on an ongoing grant from the Czech Science Foundation (3 years) and will enrol to PhD programme for the 4-year PhD course and receive a scholarship from the Faculty of Science at University of South Bohemia, which combined are sufficient to cover living expenses in Czech Republic, and will be registered on the Ecosystem Biology and Ecology or Botany PhD programmes. Applicants from all countries are eligible.

The successful applicant will join the Ant Research Group (http://antscience.com/) at the Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, under the supervision of Tom Fayle (http://www.tomfayle.com/index.htm) and Petr Klimes (https://antscience.com/people/). The laboratory is a dynamic, multinational group studying ant ecology, evolution and biogeography, and is embedded within the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology, a world-class centre for tropical ecology research with regular publications in Science, Nature, Ecology Letters and other leading journals.

The Biology Centre is located in České Budějovice (2 hours south of the capital Prague), a middle-sized city with ca. 100K inhabitants, relaxed atmosphere, over 750 years of tradition and a breathtaking countryside around. Both the town and the surrounding countryside provide numerous opportunities for research and leisure activities. There is also a growing international expert community at the Biology Centre CAS (BC CAS) and the University of South Bohemia (USB). In addition, the living costs are still low by international standards. Check out our Guide for Expats (https://www.bc.cas.cz/en/employees) to read about life in the city and the Czech Republic.

The Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences holds the HR Award. Our selection process meets European standards for recruitment of researchers (https://www.bc.cas.cz/en/employees/candidates/otm-r/) and we provide our employees from abroad with welcome service (visa application, administration, relocation & settlement support). Gender equality plan (https://www.bc.cas.cz/en/about-us/gender-equality) has been accepted in 2022.

HOW TO APPLY:

To apply please send a CV, contact details for three references, and cover letter stating qualifications, previous work and motivation for this position via our official website: https://jobs.bc.cas.cz/en/detail/191

Please make sure to specify the title of the position you wish to apply for, as we are advertising two studentships on this project.

If you would like to discuss the project further, please feel free to contact Tom Fayle (Tato e-mailová adresa je chráněna před spamboty. Pro její zobrazení musíte mít povolen Javascript.).