Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL is a part of the ETH domain. Approximately 500 people work on the sustainable use and protection of the environment and on the handling of natural hazards.

The Research Unit Forest Dynamics assesses the effects of changing environmental conditions on forest ecosystem functioning. By 1st January 2021, we are looking for a
PhD student in forest/soil ecology
You will be part of an SNSF project, which aims at assessing to what extent climate warming will impact the synchrony between vegetation, a generalist moth, soil nutrient availability and microbial soil activity in spring in temperate forest ecosystems. The project comprises field and laboratory work in Switzerland and will offer opportunity to visit labs abroad and to collaborate with different partners in Europe (Germany & France). Field monitoring and gas exchange measurements will be performed in the field along an elevational gradient and an experiment will be conducted at WSL to investigate the trade-off between leaf-out timing and the intra- and inter-specific competition for water and nutrient resources.

You hold a Master’s degree in ecology, soil ecology, plant physiology, environmental science or in an equivalent field. You ideally have already gained field experience, have good English skills and able to use a statistical software, preferably R. Furthermore, you are independent, self-motivated, and excited to take on a challenging project that will help shape our understanding of climate change impacts on forest ecosystems. This position is ideal for those seeking a career in the area of ecophysiology, ecology and climate change science. Working place will be at WSL in Birmensdorf (approx. 20 min outside of Zurich), the enrollment will be at ETH Zurich.

Please send your complete application to Stefania Pe, Human Resources WSL, before 31st August 2020, by uploading the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered. Dr. Yann Vitasse ( and Prof. Dr. Arthur Gessler ( will be happy to answer any questions or offer further information. The WSL strives to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which is why qualified women are particularly called upon to apply for this position.

Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf