Postdoctoral Position(s) in Plant Ecology

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Permanent

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

We are looking for 1-2 postdocs to join the Plant Ecology group  at ETH Zürich (led by Janneke Hille Ris Lambers). You will develop project(s) in collaboration with Hille Ris Lambers and other Plant Ecology Group members or collaborators to explore questions related to ongoing research on the drivers of climate-change-induced range and community shifts in temperate forests and/or  Alpine wildflower meadows.

The plant ecology research group at ETH Zürich consists of an international team of researchers (~ 8-15 postdocs, graduate students and masters students) that use a wide variety of observational, experimental, and quantitative approaches to address questions of interest in field sites in Switzerland (Calanda Mountains, LWF forest sites ) and the USA (Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington State). We are committed to fostering diversity and inclusivity in our activities, as well as in conducting open and collaborative science. See our website for details of past/ongoing work and publications. 


Project background

We are particularly interested in individuals who will take the lead on one of the projects described below, which primarily require the synthesis and modeling of existing data. 

  • What demographic processes or species traits (e.g. dispersal, climatic tolerances) constrain climate-change-induced range shifts of long-lived trees and Alpine wildflowers? What role does the regeneration niche play? We have access to extensive demographic, distribution, and trait data for long-lived trees and Alpine wildflowers (in the US and Switzerland) which can be used to parameterize range shift models (e.g. moving habitat models) to address these (and related) questions. This project would be developed in collaboration with Jake Alexander (ETH Zurich).
  • What characterizes microclimatic refugia in old-growth forests and how does this variation influence seedling germination and seedling survival in a time of climate change? We have access to 10+ years of seedling survival and microclimate (temperature, snow duration, and soil moisture) collected across large climatic gradients in the old-growth forests of Mt. Rainier National Park (USA). These data can be used to assess the biotic and abiotic drivers of microclimate variability and the implications of such variability for forest regeneration and turnover.
  • How do forest communities vary across macro- and micro-climatic gradients? How has this been altered by warming? We have whole plant community data (overstory trees and understory cover) from two-time points collected in Pacific Northwestern Forests (Mount Rainier National Park and the North Cascades National Park - USA), which can be used to assess rates of thermophilization and community turnover. This project would be developed in collaboration with Amy Angert (University of British Columbia).

We will also consider applicants who are interested in other analytical, experimental or field-based projects (these should be described in the research statement), as long as they complement ongoing research topics and make use of existing research infrastructure (i.e. field sites and / or data).


Job description

You will work closely and collaboratively with Hille Ris Lambers and (potentially) other Plant Ecology group members (e.g. Alexander) and colleagues (e.g. Angert) to design analytical projects that take advantage of long-term data sets. You are expected to publish results in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals, present results at conferences and seminars, and contribute to the teaching and mentoring activities of the Plant Ecology group.


Your profile
  • PhD in ecology (or related)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Evidence of ability to work independently and in teams
  • Experience in ecological data analysis tools and approaches
  • Commitment to a collegial and inclusive workplace 


Your workplace

Your workplace

We offer
  • Employment conditions and remuneration in accordance with the standards of ETH Zurich
  • Outstanding research groups at ETH Zürich, the adjacent University of Zürich, WSL (the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research) and EAWAG (the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) offer numerous opportunities for interaction and collaboration
  • A work place in a cosmopolitan city with high living standards and easy access to outdoor activities and the rest of Europe

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We value diversity

In line with

our values

, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our

Equal Opportunities and Diversity website

to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.



Curious? So are we.

As part of your online application, you should upload the following two documents to the application portal. We will start evaluating applications on December 4th:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • A 2-page research statement describing past accomplishments (~1 page) and what future research you envision pursuing (~1 page). In this statement, you should mention which (if any) of the research projects mentioned above you are interested in (and why), and/or describe additional research projects you could see yourself conducting in the Plant Ecology Group.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Further information about the Plant Ecology group can be found on our website . Please contact Janneke Hille Ris Lambers with any questions you might have (no applications).


About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.



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