PhD Positions: Shade Trees in Cacao Agroforestry Systems, Germany

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PhD Scholarship, Shade Trees in Cacao Agroforestry Systems, Research, Germany

Job Description: In cacao agroforestry plantations, competition between cacao and shade trees for limited resources may reduce yields. In particular, water availability is regarded as a main determinant of cacao yield. Results of our previous experiments has shown that: (1) there is a strong vertical partitioning of soil water uptake between cacao and shade trees, (2) during low rainfall periods, mainly cacao trees took up the small volumes of water reaching the soil, and (3) an increased shade tree canopy cover led to an increase rather than a decreased water use of cacao trees. In this follow-up project, we aim to test these contentions to achieve more general conclusions. The methods emphasize the application of stable isotope techniques (deuterium and 18O), using natural abundances as well as tracer experiments, supplemented by tree sap flux studies. Cooperation is planned particularly with a project addressing the productivity and species-specific root distribution in these stands. Fieldwork activities will take place in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

The contract
The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and currently financing has been approved for first 18 months, and may be extended to a total of 36 months. Gross salary is 65% of TVL 13. The anticipated start date is 15 November 2010.

The applicant
The applicant should have a M.Sc. degree in forestry, agriculture, ecology, biology, geography or related disciplines. Good English writing skills and an independent scientific work style are mandatory. Knowledge in (forest-) hydrology and xylem sap flow techniques are advantageous. Team players with some living experience in South East Asia are most welcome.

Please send your application before 15 September 2010 to Dr. M. Köhler, Department of Tropical Silviculture and Forest Ecology (mkoehle1@gwdg.de)

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