PhD position at Freie Universität Berlin (3 years, 65% TV-L E13)

Modelling and syntheses of biodiversity patterns in
fragmented landscapes


Are you fascinated by biodiversity patterns and community dynamics in space and time? Are you interested in improving the scientific foundation of biodiversity conservation in an era of global change? Are you experienced in data analysis and simulation modelling? Then, we might have the right position for you:

In the Theoretical Ecology group at FU Berlin (, we are looking for a quantitative ecologist with interest and experience in simulation modelling and data syntheses. The position contributes to the project “Disentangling the geometric and demographic effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity across spatial scales”, funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG).

This project aims at an improved understanding of biodiversity changes in fragmented landscapes and at reconciling previous, contrasting results on the relationship between habitat fragmentation and biodiversity. The methods of the project include spatial and dynamic simulation modelling and statistical analyses of simulated data as well as of published field data from the literature on plants and animals. The project will be carried out in close cooperation with researchers from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, and the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart.

In the Theoretical Ecology group, we value and foster a collaborative and constructive working atmosphere and we intensively discuss ecological and methodological topics. Moreover, Berlin and its surrounding offer a vibrant research landscape in ecology and biodiversity science.

Your tasks

  • Development and analyses of a spatial simulation model of community dynamics in fragmented landscapes
  • Validation of existing and novel empirical approaches for biodiversity comparisons between fragmented landscapes with simulated data
  • Data acquisition and compilation of a data base of published fragmentation-biodiversity studies on plants and animals
  • Meta-analyses of the data base for syntheses of fragmentation-biodiversity studies
  • Communication of research results in international peer-reviewed journals and at conferences

Your profile

  • Master or equivalent in biology, geo- or landscape-ecology, environmental science, or a related field
  • Advanced knowledge in data analysis with R
  • Experience in the development of simulation models with languages such as R, C++, or Netlogo
  • Fluent written and spoken English
  • Motivation for exchange and visits to the cooperation partners at the iDiv and UFZ in Leipzig and at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart
  • Experience in the development and analysis of data bases is beneficial

For further information, please contact Dr. Felix May ( The position will be filled as soon as possible with a deadline for applications on the 31.05.2021 (official German job announcement at Payment is according to the German public tariff (65% TV-L E13). Applications should be submitted via e-mail, and preferably as single pdf-file to Dr. Felix May, Theoretical Ecology, Freie Universität Berlin ( with the identifier 2021_May_FragDiv. Applications should include a letter of motivation (ca. 2 pages), a detailed CV, contact details of one or two references, transcripts or degree certificates including grades and proofs of special qualifications. Freie Universität Berlin is an equal opportunity employer and specifically encourages female candidates to apply. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal qualification.