PhD position on "Intraspecific chemodiversity in black poplar and its impact on herbivorous insects"

The project group "Chemical Ecology of Poplar", Dr. Sybille B. Unsicker, in the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology offers a

PhD position on "Intraspecific chemodiversity in black poplar and its impact on herbivorous insects"

Trees are attacked by numerous insects and pathogens, and this infestation is heterogeneous both spatially and temporally. In poplar trees, chemodiversity is mainly determined by genotype and biotic and abiotic environmental conditions. To date, little attention has been paid to chemodiversity in chemo-ecological studies of poplars and, in particular, little is known about the vertical dimension within canopies of old trees in this context.  The aim of this project is to investigate chemodiversity in black poplar (Populus nigra) and, furthermore, to explore the consequences of chemodiversity for the abundance and fitness of herbivorous insects and pathogens. This project will combine classical ecological, chemical-analytical and biochemical methods.

We offer: A PhD position (funded by DFG) for three years in the newly established research unit FOR 3000 "Ecology and evolution of intraspecific chemodiversity in plants".
The position will ideally start on July 1st, 2021. Payment will be based on the collective bargaining agreements for the civil service (65% E13). We offer an excellent research environment for enthusiastic scientists of different nationalities. The PhD student will be affiliated with the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS

Requirements: We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a Master's degree or equivalent in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences or related disciplines with a strong interest in Chemical Ecology. Experience and enthusiasm for field work and experimental design, hands-on experience in chemical analysis (GC-MS, LC-MS) and molecular biology, as well as statistical analysis (preferably R) and handling large data sets are a plus. We expect candidates to be able to work both independently and as part of a team. Fluency in oral and written English is required. The candidate should have a German driver's license or a driver's license recognized in Germany.

How to apply?
The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and strives to employ both genders equally and to employ more people with disabilities. We therefore encourage all applicants, regardless of nationality, gender or disability, to apply for this position. Please send your application as a PDF file in English with a letter of motivation, a summary of your experience and vision for the future, a curriculum vitae of no more than 4 pages, a list of publications and relevant certificates (diplomas, etc.), and the names of three referees (including email address) to

Dr. Sybille Unsicker

The deadline for applications is June 21, 2021.