PhD studentship in Switzerland ~

6 de julio de 2012

PhD studentship in Switzerland

A fully funded PhD studentship in tropical plant ecology and conservation
genetics,  ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Project: Demographic and genetic processes underlying regeneration in
coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) the largest seeded plant in the World

Start Date: November 1st,  2012

Summary: The endangered Seychelles palm Lodoicea maldivica (coco de
mer), is a truly remarkable plant species, producing the largest seeds
in the plant kingdom. The nuts are traded commercially being the most
valuable in the world, with virtually all nuts harvested for commercial
use. Despite its extraordinary ecological and economic significance, very
little is known about the reproductive ecology and regeneration of the
coco de mer. With virtually no seed dispersal (the seeds fall directly
below the mother plant), it can be seen as an evolutionary endpoint in a
spectrum of dispersal strategies among higher plants. This project will
apply molecular ecological methods and detailed field ecological surveys
to investigate the role of dioecy, pollen dispersal and restricted seed
dispersal in shaping the patterns of genetic diversity, demographic
structure and fitness in this extraordinary species. The results of this
study with contribute directly to the conservation and management of
coco de mer, but will also have broader relevance to our understanding
of the genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation in plant species
with limited seed dispersal.

Location: ETH Zurich, Switzerland, with fieldwork on Praslin Island,
Seychelles.  The Primary affiliation of this project will be the Ecosystem
management Group, ETH, Zurich.

Supervisors: Dr. Chris J Kettle (Ecosystem Management, ETH Zurich),
Prof. Dr. Peter Edwards (Plant Ecology, ETH Zurich), Dr Christopher
Kaiser-Bunbury (Aarhus University, Denmark). The project will be
conducted in close collaboration with the Seychelles Islands Foundation
(SIF <>), with local co-supervision from Dr Frauke

Requirements: Highly motivated, with a desire to work on tropical plant
ecology and conservation as part of a dynamic team. You will have a good
B.Sc and M.Sc degree, in Ecology, Evolutionary biology, or a related
field, with experience in experimental ecology, statistics, and molecular
laboratory work. Spoken and written English required, knowledge of German
and French would be advantageous. Applicants should enjoy working in a
challenging tropical field conditions as well as in the lab. Climbing
skills would be an advantage.  Independence and self-reliance in often
difficult working conditions, are essential, as well as an ability to
interact well with a team of local and international staff.

The Group: We offer a dynamic and stimulating scientific environment
with world-class facilities. Our group of scientists and students is
international in composition, and tackles a range of multi-disciplinary
topics relating to plant ecology, conservation and ecosystem
management. See our web site for more details (www. The
successful candidate will also be embedded in the scientific and
conservation community in the Seychelles, hosted and supported by SIF.

Conditions of Employment: Three years appointment at ETH, Zurich (funded
at the ETH Zurich PhD student salary scale). The position is to be based
in Zurich with extended periods of field work in the Seychelles. The PhD
student may be required to do some course work at ETH Zurich as part of
the entry requirement. This position is open to suitable candidates of
all nationalities.

Application:      Please send a letter of motivation, outlining
why you are interesting in this PhD, full CV and names and
addresses of two academic referees to Ankara Chen by e-Mail
(info.em(at) Please quote CDM in the subject line. Closing
date for applications is 15 August 2012. We expect to interview
short-listed candidates in early September

For informal enquires contact Chris Kettle
chris.kettle(at) or further details click here

Dr Chris J Kettle <>
Lecturer and Senior Scientist
Department of Environmental Systems Science <>
ETH Zurich <>

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