Ph.D. student in “Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry” / ETH Zurich

The Group of Physiological Plant Ecology (Prof. Ansgar Kahmen) seeks a Ph.D. student in “Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry”

The position is within the ERC project “Hydrogen isotopes of leaf wax n-alkanes as a novel tool to assess plant and ecosystem water relations”. Leaf wax n-alkanes are hydrocarbons that are abundant in leaves, soils and sediments. Their stable hydrogen isotope composition (δD) has been proposed to be a powerful new proxy for hydrological processes and ecosystem water relations that can be applied to address important research questions in the context of global environmental change. The candidate will perform research that will help to further develop leaf wax n-alkanes and their δD values as eco-hydrological proxy. Specifically, he/she will conduct experiments with plants under controlled conditions and in the field to understand the biochemical hydrogen isotope fractionation

that occurs during the biosynthesis of leaf wax n-alkanes in leaves. This research provides the candidate with the opportunity to pursue a scientific career e.g. in biogeochemistry, paleoclimatology, plant physiology or ecosystem sciences.

We look for a dynamic, reliable and motivated student with M.Sc./Diploma in plant physiology, biochemistry, organic geochemistry, chemistry or related disciplines. Strong interest in process-oriented research and hands-on experiences with analytical instruments (stable isotope mass spectrometers), biochemistry and analytical chemistry are beneficial. Driving license is required. Teamwork within the group and project partners requires spoken and written English language skills.

Additional benefits
The research will be carried out within a 3-year project, starting in February 2013. We offer an interesting position in an outstanding international, interdisciplinary research environment in Zurich. Salary and social benefits are provided according to ETH Zurich rules.

Please send your complete application (CV, transcripts, letter of motivation) to Mr. Rolf Oertli (, Human Resources, ETH Zurich, TUR C24, 8092 Zürich. Evaluation procedure will start December 1st. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Further information can be obtained from Prof. Kahmen ( or at


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