Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL is part of the ETH Domain. Approximately 600 people work on the sustainable use and protection of the environment and on the handling of natural hazards.

The WSL research unit Land Change Science assesses ecological consequences of environmental change. Spotlight is an interdisciplinary research project (SNF Sinergia) in collaboration with Metas, EKZ and the University of Zürich. The project links ecology, social sciences and light engineering to mitigate the impact of light pollution on humans and the environment. 

For the ecological research within Spotlight, we are looking from September 1, 2024, for a
PhD student in ecological impacts of light pollution (f/m/d)
Artificial light at night has been identified as a primary driver of environmental change in the 21st century with key consequences for both, ecological systems and humans. You will assess the impact of different LED lighting properties on insect and arthropod communities and analyze key ecological processes (herbivory, predation, decomposition) in field (forests, open land) and laboratory experiments. You will analyse the responses of these biodiversity - ecosystem function relationships to different light treatments using a variety of metrics such as abundance, taxonomic and functional diversity as well as community composition in terms of species and functional traits. This provides a frame, but you are also encouraged to contribute your own ideas. The project is interdisciplinary, and your results will be combined with results from a social sciences and light engineering for integration into light planning models.
You have a Master’s degree in the field of environmental science, ecology or biology. You are motivated to conduct research on ecological processes as a function of different light pollution aspects and LED luminaire treatments. You have experience in managing and conducting field work and laboratory experiments with insects and ground-dwelling arthropods. You have basic knowledge on insect taxonomy and are highly motivated to analyze ecological data statistically. Furthermore, you are scientifically creative and interested in interdisciplinary research with project partners from very different fields. As a team player, you have good oral and written communication skills, you are well organised and able to work independently and efficiently. 

Please send your complete application to Beatrice Lamprecht, Human Resources WSL, by uploading the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered. Janine Bolliger ( 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