Postdoc Position (2 years) in, ’RiverDNA: uncovering fundamental biodiversity in riverine systems using environmental DNA’

Published20 April 2017
WorkplaceDübendorf, Zurich region, Switzerland
CategoryEnvironment / Sustainable Development
Life Sciences
PositionSenior Researcher / Postdoc


Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Duebendorf, Switzerland), and University of Zurich (UZH) are internationally recognized institutes that are committed to the ecological, economical and social management of water. They offer excellent laboratory and field facilities for interdisciplinary research, large-scale experimental facilities, and long-term research programs and data sets. These institutions share common goals towards education, research, and technology transfer at the highest international level.

The Altermatt lab at the Department of Aquatic Ecology (Eawag) and Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental studies (UZH) has a vacancy for a

Postdoc Position (2 years) in
‘RiverDNA: uncovering fundamental biodiversity in riverine systems using environmental DNA’

Rivers are among the most biodiverse ecosystems worldwide, with invaluable significance for mankind. Information on biodiversity, however, is taxonomically and spatially scattered and lacks timeliness. In this project you will lead environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding to assess and uncover the complete and fundamental biodiversity fingerprint of river basins. The goal is to get a high spatial and temporal coverage of biodiversity patterns, functional gene expression and associated ecosystem functions and possible changes therein.

The postdoctoral fellow will be advancing the research field of metabarcoding, focusing on eDNA-based diversity assessments using high throughput sequencing (HTS) in riverine ecosystems. The project will be conducted in close collaboration and interaction with a thematically linked PhD position.

This project
builds on recent advances in molecular techniques, creating novel opportunities to assess biodiversity in a unifying and scalable way. The goal of this project is to develop and test eDNA-based metabarcoding in natural ecosystems, to get unified measures of biodiversity and ecosystem processes. We will study and resolve open methodological questions in aquatic mesocosm experiments and the results will feed into the subsequent field studies. The project aims to conduct among the first complete assessments of fundamental biodiversity, that is, biodiversity across all domains of life and across different functions, across large natural river networks. The ultimate goal is to upscale and predict diversity at the landscape level. The project allows a high level of independence.

Applicants must have a PhD in Molecular Ecology, Ecology, Microbiology or a related science field and proven previous laboratory and bioinformatics experience in eDNA and HTS approaches and associated bioinformatics skills. Ideally they also have some knowledge on spatial data analysis and experience in programing. A high standard of written and spoken English is required. The successful applicant will be based in Duebendorf/Zurich in the group of Prof. Dr Florian Altermatt ( ). You will work at Eawag in Duebendorf and be affiliated to the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental studies at UZH. The position will be for 2 years, and could start in the second half of 2017 or early 2018. The project is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent person with a passion for science to join our team. The Altermatt lab has a shared base at Eawag and UZH. Zurich hosts many other research groups in ecology and biodiversity research, and is among the world’s leading cities in terms of science, culture and quality of life.

Eawag offers a
unique research and working environment (?" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> and is committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to support the compatibility of family and work. Applications from women are especially welcome. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult ?" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> and ?" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> .

For further information
about the position please consult or contact
Prof. Dr Florian Altermat, Email florian.altermatt [at] eawag[.]ch.

Applications must be submitted by 30 May 2017.Your application should include a letter describing your interests and their relevance to this position, a complete CV, university diplomas, and the names and contact information for three references.

We look forward to receive your application through this webpage.
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