Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, University of Zurich is offering a 48-month PhD position for an early-stage researchers (ESR) in in the area of sustainable land-use decisions.
We are looking for a PhD student to investigate landscape-level diversity effects. Research of the past decades has made clear that ecosystems provide services to humans that are of enormous economic value. At the same time, experiments have shown that biodiversity matters for ecosystem functioning. However, this evidence stems from relatively small and artificial setups. It thus currently remains unclear whether the mechanisms identified also operate in real-world ecosystems and to which extent their functioning is threatened by land-use changes and biodiversity loss.
The successful candidate will analyze diversity-functioning relationships at the landscape scale. The analysis will span sites in a range of biomes that are distributed around the globe, and make use of existing ground-based and remotely-sensed data on the diversity of ecosystems and their functioning. The broader objective of the study is to evaluate how mechanisms change with scale, and whether and how biodiversity matters for the functioning of ecosystems in the “real world”.
A planned secondment of 3 months at the “Swiss Biodiversity Forum” in Berne (Switzerland) is part of this project. During this secondment, the ESR will evaluate how landscape structure and planning could be leveraged to improve landscape-wide ecosystem functioning. For this part of the work, the ESR will closely work with Swiss stakeholders and with scientists at the “Forum”. One anticipated outcome of the secondment is a fact sheet that will be published on the Forum’s web site and that will inform stakeholder and policymakers and the importance of diversity in large landscapes.
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