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[ITRDBFOR] Ph.D. opportunity at WSL Switzerland: "Coupling stem water flow and structural carbon allocation in a warming climate"

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  • From: Patrick Fonti <patrick.fonti AT>
  • To: ITRDB Forum <itrdbfor AT>
  • Subject: [ITRDBFOR] Ph.D. opportunity at WSL Switzerland: "Coupling stem water flow and structural carbon allocation in a warming climate"
  • Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2013 08:31:50 +0100

Dear colleagues,

We are seeking a motivated doctoral student to fill a research opportunity at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, located just outside of Zurich, Switzerland. The successful candidate will join a dynamic and international research Dendro-team within the Landscape Dynamics Unit. This position is offered within the framework of a three-year project funded by the Swiss National Science foundation.

The project aims to elucidate coupling between the carbon and hydrological cycles by quantifying water flow and growth processes occurring in the stem of conifer trees. Research will be conducted along an elevational gradient (800 – 2200 m asl) containing mixed spruce (Picea abies) and larch (Larix decidua) and thus provide a natural experimental setting to investigate impacts of warming temperatures on tree growth and functioning. High resolution data on plant-water relations (sap flow and stem diameter variation, soil, xylem and leaf water oxygen isotopes) will complement multi-annual measurements of tree growth (e.g., weekly xylogenesis observation, hourly stem size variation, tree-ring anatomy and density profiles) to link variability in the hydrological and carbon cycles as a function of species and climate variability – as related to temperature change along this gradient – and incorporated into existing and newly developed modeling frameworks.

The project comprises empirical aspects from the broad fields of (i) dendrochronology, (ii) wood anatomy, (iii) tree physiology, (iv) ecology, and (v) climatology. Data and analyses will allow for basic assessments of the impacts of projected climatic change on tree-ring formation and stem biomass accumulation.

This research project is highly diverse and involves a mixture of strenuous, but scenic field work during the vegetation season, laboratory measurements, and a lot of data analysis.

A Masters Degree in the natural sciences (e.g., biology, forestry, geography, botany or similar experience) and interests in combining biological observations (e.g., phenology) with quantitative analyses are required. Experience with R or other statistical/programming languages (or at least the strong desire to learn) will contribute to project success. Strong written and verbal communication skills will be beneficial as publication of results in internationally ranked journals is expected.

For further information, please contact: Patrick Fonti (patrick.fonti at

Please feel free to pass this announcement along to anyone who might be interested and qualified.

Thanks and best wishes,

Patrick Fonti

Attachment: WSL PHD_LOTFOR.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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