Open positions

Currently, we have a one-year postdoc position open who would be sitting at Eawag in Kastanienbaum, near Lucerne in the centre of Switzerland.


Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and WSL, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, are the two environmental research institutes of the ETH domain. Within the new Blue-Green Biodiversity Initiative of Eawag and WSL, the Seehausen lab at Eawag and the Zimmermann lab at WSL have a vacancy for a Post-Doc in ecology/evolutionary biology (100 %) to work on

Biodiversity assembly in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems - the roles of speciation versus immigration

Regional biodiversity assembles through immigration, sorting and speciation. Understanding their relative importance in different ecosystems and taxonomic groups is of fundamental interest for science and nature conservation. Dramatic losses of endemic species radiations have been documented in deep lakes and oceanic islands all over the world, but are likely also widespread in mountains. Physically rugged landscapes such as those of the European Alps give rise to endemic species radiations through the interaction of dispersal limitation with steep ecological gradients and insular habitat structure. Terrestrial and aquatic, plant and animal radiations in the Alps have been studied in isolation. In this project we want to analyse them in a common framework in order to identify factors that explain variation between taxa and ecosystems in the prevalence and distribution of species radiations within a common region. For this we have compiled large data sets for multiple large cl
 ades representative of biodiversity in and around the Alps: amphipods, fish, flowering plants, butterflies.

You will build phylogenetic trees based on sequence data, map current and reconstruct ancestral species ranges for classifying species as resulting from immigration, anagenesis or cladogenesis, and from geographical modes of speciation. You will extract climate and habitat preferences from occurrence data to determine if speciation events were associated with niche conservatism or niche divergence. You will map the relative importance of these alternative processes back to the physical landscapes and to phylogenetic trees to assess to what extent the same or different principles drive community assembly in distinct ecosystems within a shared landscape and climate history. You will synthesize the information into manuscripts for leading disciplinary or interdisciplinary journals.

The postdoctoral fellow will work with extensive existing datasets of the Seehausen and Zimmermann groups, as well as datasets of collaborators Florian Altermatt, Jakob Brodersen, Blake Matthews (all Eawag), Loic Pellissier, Catherine Graham (both WSL), and Lukas Rüber (Natural History Museum Bern). The project is funded by the Blue-Green Biodiversity initiative of Eawag and WSL. Please find more information on our homepage at

Competitive applicants have experience in phylogenetic comparative analysis of ecological, trait and distribution data, excellent command of R and ability to work with large data. Applicants will be highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent scientists with excellent communication and writing skills and a track record of publishing in ecology, evolution or biogeography, good work ethics and creative thinking. You must have a PhD degree in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Biogeography or a related field. The successful applicant will be based in the group of Prof Ole Seehausen ( at Eawag, Kastanienbaum, but will spend significant amounts of time at WSL in Birmensdorf in the group of Prof Niklaus Zimmermann (
Funding is available for 12 months, but it is possible that it can be extended beyond that. The position should start as soon as possible, but no later than September 2020.

Switzerland is home to many research groups in ecology, evolution, biodiversity and conservation and enjoys an unparalleled quality of life. Eawag's Center for Ecology, Evolution & Biogeochemistry is located in the heart of Switzerland on the shores of Lake Lucerne. It has a strong nucleus of research groups that are committed to integrating evolutionary biology, ecology, and ecosystem science. Traveling to WSL Birmensdorf, to Zürich and to Bern is each just under an hour by public transport.

For further information about the position please contact Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen Applications from women and from minority groups are especially welcome.

The evaluation of applications will begin by July 1st 2020 but the position will remain open until filled. Your application should include a letter of motivation, a complete CV, relevant diplomas, and names and contact information for three references.
We look forward to receive your application through this webpage. Any other way of applying will not be considered. Please click on the link below, this will take you directly to the application form.
 Ole Seehausen
 Eawag Professor for Aquatic Ecology and Evolution
 Institute of Ecology & Evolution
 University of Bern
 Baltzerstrasse 6
 CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
 EAWAG Center for Ecology, Evolution & Biogeochemistry
 Seestrasse 79
 CH-6047 Kastanienbaum, Switzerland