Ph.D.- position (m/f/d) on the role of plant chemotypes for plant-insect interactions

Updated: about 1 month ago

04.06.2021, Wissenschaftliches Personal

The Terrestrial Ecology Research Group at the TUM School of Science in Freising is recruiting a doctoral Research Assistant (m/f/d) to work in a DFG -funded research project, limited to 36 months (65%, approx. 26h/week). The collaborative research project with the Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS) at the Helmholtz Center Munich, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology (Prof. Schnitzler) focusses on the basics of plant chemical diversity and its importance for structuring insect populations across different special scales.

Your tasks
Your task will be to investigate the spatial variation in chemical profiles of tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) and the role of the chemical variation for plant-insect interactions. In addition to the aboveground chemical diversity of the plant, there will be an additional focus on the role of belowground chemical variation. The chemical characterisation of tansy will be largely done by a Ph.D. student based at the Helmholtz-Center Munich . Your role will be to sample plant and insects in the field at different spatial scales and analyse how the chemical profile of tansy affects the assembly of the insect community on the plant along with other factors. In addition, the role of tansy chemotypes for structuring aphid populations will be assessed using population genetics methods.

What we expect from you
• Full university degree (Diploma/M.Sc.) in biology, ecology, entomology or a related discipline.
• Interest in insect community ecology and chemical ecology.
• Fluent in English, in reading and writing.
• Good communication skills and ability to work in a team.
• Ability to conduct field work
• Knowledge of insect taxonomy and identification skills desirable
• Experience with plant-insect interactions and ecological experiments desirable

Our offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in a motivated team. Our research group is an international and dynamic team of about 35 people including postdocs, PhDs, and technical staff. The team works on various topics, including biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, plant-insect interactions, urban ecology, and global changes impacts on biodiversity. For more information about our research and the research group see Freising is a charming small student Bavarian city in Munich vicinity, very well connected to Munich by train, and a perfect start point to explore Bavaria and Germany. Working hours are flexible and remuneration is in accordance with the applicable TUM regulations (TV-L). Severely disabled persons will be given preference in the case of essentially equal suitability and qualifications. The TUM aims to increase the proportion of women; applications from women are therefore expressly welcomed.

Please send your application with a short letter of motivation, CV, certificates etc. as well as the contact details of two references to Technische Universität München, Chair of Terrestrial Ecology, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Tel: 08161-71-3495, Email:, by 25 June 2021. If you are applying by email, please send all documents as a single PDF document.
Please direct questions about the position to Dr. Robin Heinen ( or Prof. Wolfgang W Weisser (

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Further information can be found in the following paper: Clancy et al. 2016 (, Clancy et al. 2018 Plant Cell Environ ( and Clancy et al. 2021 ( 10.1186/s12870-020-02745-1) describe the chemical diversity of tansy and the response of plants to attack by herbivores. Senft et al. 2019 Funct Ecol
( gives an example of the ecological consequences of particular tansy chemotypes for plant-insect interactions. Zytynska et al. 2019 ( describes how tansy plant chemical variation and mutualistic ants affect the population genetics of aphids.

When applying for a position at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), you will be submitting personal data. Please refer to our data protection information in accordance with Art. 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO) regarding the collection and processing of personal data in the context of your application. By submitting your application, you confirm that you have taken note of the TUM data protection information.

Data Protection Information:
When you apply for a position with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), you are submitting personal information. With regard to personal information, please take note of the Datenschutzhinweise gemäß Art. 13 Datenschutz-Grundverordnung (DSGVO) zur Erhebung und Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten im Rahmen Ihrer Bewerbung. (data protection information on collecting and processing personal data contained in your application in accordance with Art. 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). By submitting your application, you confirm that you have acknowledged the above data protection information of TUM.


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