Research Associate (m/f/d) (Soil Biodiversity and Agriculture)

 The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN) was founded in 1817 and is one of the most important research institutions in the field of biodiversity. At its eleven locations throughout Germany, scientists from over 40 nations conduct cutting-edge research on an international level. At the Görlitz site, the prestigious Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz (SMNG) is located in a historic town with a very liveable region that is particularly close to nature.

For the BMBF project „BonaRes - Centre for Soil Research“, the Department of Soil Zoology of the SenckenbergMuseum of Natural History Görlitz (SMNG) is looking for a

Research Associate (m/f/d) (Soil Biodiversity and Agriculture)
(part time 80%)

Within the framework of the research program „Soils as Sustainable Resource for the Bioeconomy - BonaRes“, launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the „BonaRes - Centre for Soil Research“ is a central project. Aims of the Centre are the provision of soil-related data in standardized form, the development of integrative model tools to evaluate land-use options regarding their sustainability, and the development of a web-based portal for knowledge-based options for farming strategies and soil-use management. To face these challenges, an interdisciplinary group has been established from the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), the Technical University of Munich, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society (SGN), and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). Within this consortium, the SGN elucidates and quantifies the effects of agricultural methods on soil animal communities as well as the impact of soil animals on soil processes and functions through the review and statistical analysis of world-wide research results in scientific publications.

The research associate will help the SGN team to elucidate and quantify the soil-faunistic drivers of soil processes. The position will (1) model (via species distribution models [SDMs]) the potential community and species occurrences throughout Germany, and help quantify (via meta-analyses of literature data) the effects between soil fauna and soil properties. These assessments will focus on, i.e. Lumbricidae, but may also include Enchytraeidae, Nematoda, Collembola (preferably at a functional-group level). The results of the meta-analyses and SDMs will be used to quantify models of agricultural methods on soil functionality as well as in fact sheets for stakeholders. While a basic knowledge of soil animals and biodiversity analyses is necessary, fieldwork and animal determination is not intended.

The tasks of this job entail:

  • Modelling the spatial distribution of the total densities and species richness of earthworm ecological life-form groups
  • Applying ecological models to understand the drivers of the distributions of soil animals and communities
  • Help in meta-analyses and assessments of literature data on the effects of soil fauna on soil macropore density and soil phosphorus
  • Production of high-quality distribution maps
  • Establishment and preparation of quantified soil-biological functional data for models, , in cooperation with the project partners at  UFZ
  • Writing fact sheets and high-quality publications on the research content
  • Preparation of mid-term and final reports; representation and presentation of the results at project status seminars, conferences, etc.

Your profile:

  • Higher degree (Masters, or equivalent; PhD) in (soil) ecology or a related topic with a good knowledge of soil fauna
  • Outstanding command of the statistical programming language “R”
  • Basic knowledge of methods of evidence synthesis i.e., systematic literature reviews
  • Experience in spatial biodiversity (distribution) data analysis and modelling
  • Basic knowledge of meta-analysis statistics, i.e., mixed effects models
  • Knowledge of soil fauna (e.g. Lumbricidae) is advantageous
  • Familiarity with transdisciplinary research environments, especially in (soil) biodiversity) research
  • Publication experience, excellent written and oral presentation skills
  • Willingness to travel (project meetings, conferences)
  • Ability to integration, you are a team player and have personal resilience

This is what you can expect:

  • An attractive, responsible and challenging position in a globally recognized research institution with motivated and professional colleagues
  • Flexible working hours – family-friendly working conditions (certified by the "audit berufundfamilie") – open and collegial environment – Senckenberg badge in connection with free admission to all Senckenberg museums – special annual payment (according to TV-L) – company pension scheme

Location: Görlitz

Scope of employment: Part time 80%

Remuneration: EG 13 according to the German collective agreement TV-L

Type of contract: The position can start on September 1, 2022 and is limited until January 31st, 2025. The position is dependent on approval by the funding agency.

Senckenberg aims to increase the proportion of women. Qualified female candidates are therefore particularly encouraged to apply. Senckenberg is certified by the "audit berufundfamilie". Compliance with the guidelines for the severely disabled and the provisions of the law on part-time work is ensured.

You are interested in applying?

Please send your application until 07 August 2022 (application deadline) by e-mail (attachment in a single pdf document), mentioning the reference of this position (ref. #08-22010) and including a letter outlining your suitability, a detailed CV, educational transcripts, contact details of 2 references and a list of your publications to recruiting(at)

Applications can also be directly submitted on our homepage via the online application form.

For scientific enquiries, please contact Dr. David Russell ( or tel.: +49 (0)3581 / 4760-5502).

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