Job Announcement
University Jena, Institute of Ecology und Evolution

PhD position in Meta-analysis of Individual Niche Specialization

Application deadline: 14.01.2018
[printable version .pdf]

PhD position in Meta-analysis
of Individual Niche Specialization

A PhD position in meta-analysis of individual niche specialization is available at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. The position is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the recently granted collaborative research center (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualization across Behavior, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3).

The project:The project The behavioural ecology of individualized niches in light of meta-analyseswill use quantitative methods to synthesize the current knowledge on individual niche specialization. Meta-analyses offer the formal framework, a framework that is growing in popularity and importance in all fields of quantitative research. Meta-analyses allow a formal assessment of the generalizability of research findings and an exploration of context dependencies. This involves a thorough reading of the published literature and will thus strengthen both conceptual and quantitative thinking. Specifically, we will explore the extent to which factors like environmental complexity, assortative mating, ecological inheritance, temporal variation, niche inheritance, condition dependence and others lead to between individual variation concerning individualized niches. The project will collaborate intensely with various empirical projects within the SFB. It promises strong training in statistical analyses, deep conceptual understanding and advances in several of subfields of ecology and evolution concerned with individualization.

The collaborative research center: The positions will be embedded within a larger collaborative research center (SFB) comprising 18 principle investigators, 8 postdocs and 16 PhD students based at Bielefeld University, the University of Münster and the University of Jena. The aim of the SFB is to produce a conceptual and empirical synthesis of individualization across behavior, ecology and evolution. The SFB will provide exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and academic networking, together with structured training, scientific exchange and early career support programs. For more information, visit the SFB website(

Main responsibilities

  • Compilation of resultson individualized niche ecology from the published literature,
  • analysis of published effects using modern meta-analytic methodology,
  • collaboration with other research groups in the collaborative research center,
  • writing scientific publications for international peer-reviewed journals.

Applicant’s profile

We seek a bright and highly motivated candidate with

  • a Master’s degree in a relevant field, like evolutionary or behavioral ecology or statistics,
  • solid knowledge in basic statistics, including experience with statistical software such as R,
  • interest in both biological and statistical questions,
  • motivation to read deeply into the scientific literature on specific topics,
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English,
  • documented experience with scientific writing will be advantageous.


The position is available from 01/02/2018 or as soon as possible thereafter and will be fixed-term till end of 2021 (almost 4 years). Salary will be paid according to Remuneration level 13 (65%) of the Wage Agreement for Public Service in the Federal States (TV-L).Severely handicapped people are given preference for equal qualifications, aptitude and professional qualifications.

Application procedure

The deadline for application is 14th January 2018 and interviews will take place shortly thereafter. To apply, please provide (i) a letter of motivation,including a statement of your research interests, skills and experience relevant to the position, (ii) a CV including publication list, (iii) names and contact details of two referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation. All materials should be sent, preferentially as a single pdf file by email, to the address below. For further information on the projects and the department, please contact Holger Schielzeth (see email below) and/or visit the website of the Population Ecology Group Jena ( note that a twin project within the SFB is currently advertised with Prof. Dr. Klaus Reinhold  at Bielefeld University  ( you may want to indicated if you are interested in either of these positions.

Prof. Dr. Holger Schielzeth, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Ecology und Evolution, Population Ecology Group, Dornburger Str. 159, 07743 Jena, Germany, E-Mail:

© 18.12.2017 Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V., DZG