Disturbed tropical rainforest in the Amazon. Zoom Image
Disturbed tropical rainforest in the Amazon.

Your application

Deadline: November 1, 2017!

Please submit your application in English providing us with:

  • Cover letter, indicating experience and interest in the topic
  • Proposal (maximum 2 pages, not including references, figures etc.)
  • CV
  • Academic transcripts (Undergraduate and Masters)
  • Reports from 3 referees Please note that it is the candidate’s responsibility to request these and that the deadline for submission of these reports is the same as the one for the applications.

Please submit your application via this link by November 1, 2017.

Further information

For questions, please contact:

Dr. Patrick Roberts

Deadline for this call: November 1, 2017!

Two PhD positions in "A living archaeology in the Amazonian rainforest: using tree DNA and chronological profiling to reconstruct prehistoric human rainforest disturbance”

The Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) is offering two 3-year funded PhD positions related to a recent Max Planck Society Research Grant. The students will work closely with a team of scholars from the MPI-SHH, the MPI for Biogeochemistry, the MPI for Developmental Biology, the University of São Paolo, and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia. The positions will begin on the 1st of January 2018.

One PhD position will be centred on the study of the genetics of living long-lived tree species in areas of known prehistoric disturbance in the Amazon rainforest. This will involve building a solid ecological and genetic understanding of the chosen species, followed by comprehensive fieldwork sampling and spatially-informed genotyping. The resulting data will then be analysed using various bioinformatic models.

The second PhD position will focus on the chronological profiling of the trees sampled for genetic analysis using of radiocarbon analysis and dendrochronology. By doing this for a sample a comprehensive age profile for a forest area will be developed and related to the genetic information and knowledge of potential past human disturbance and settlement.

Both positions will involve a combination of laboratory research in Germany and Brazil and fieldwork in the Brazilian Amazon. The students have the significant opportunity to work as part of a large, multidisciplinary, and multi-national team to develop novel methodologies and approaches in the study of past human forest use and impacts of relevance to modern conservation. The opportunity to analyze data from several sites and to draw upon different scientific methods under the mentorship of top scholars in the field provides a particularly strong career foundation.

The students will work in the Department of Archaeology at the MPI-SHH under the supervision of Dr Patrick Roberts and Professor Nicole Boivin. They will also work and receive supervision from Professor Johannes Krause in the Department of Archaeogenetics at the same Institute, Professor Susan Trumbore at the MPI for Biogeochemistry, and Professor Detlef Wegel at the MPI for Developmental Biology. Time will also be spent working with, and consulting, Dr Charles Clement and Dr Jochen Schöngart at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus and Professor Eduardo Neves at the University of São Paolo.

The laboratories and expertise available as a result of these supervisions and collaborations are of the highest caliber in the fields of archaeogenetics, genetics, bioinformatics, biogeochemistry, and chronological studies of living and prehistoric systems. Moreover, the students can draw upon knowledge from leading scholars in the study of prehistoric human rainforest interactions. These wide-ranging research facilities and the collaborative nature of the research agenda at this institute provide graduate students a unique learning experience.

 

Your qualifications

 

1. Genetic PhD project

Essential: 

  • Have or are about to obtain a Master’s degree or qualification equivalent, in Genetics, Archaeogenetics, or Bioinformatics.
  • Training and experience in genetic laboratory research and ecological and archaeological or ecological fieldwork.
  • Training and experience in the application of latest statistical and bioinformatics approaches for the analysis of genetic data.
  • Applicants are expected to be enthusiastic about learning and exploring research topics in the archaeological and ecological sciences. They must also be willing to work as part of a research team, while simultaneously running their own research agenda.

Advantageous: 

  • Experience with various laboratory techniques in the biological sciences or archaeological sciences,
  • Experience working in South America or tropical regions, or with tree populations from around the globe.
  • Experience writing scientific peer-reviewed publication and research reports.
  • Knowledge in relevant languages (i.e. Portuguese).
  • Familiarity with the history and archaeology of South America and the New World tropics.

 

2. Chronological-profiling PhD project

Essential: 

  • Have or are about to obtain a Master’s degree or qualification equivalent to the German diploma (essential) in Ecology, Archaeological Science, Archaeology, Biology, or Geochemistry.
  • Training and experience in archaeological science, ecological, geochemistry laboratory research (with a particular advantage for to those with experience in radiocarbon and dendrochronology studies) and archaeological or ecological fieldwork.
  • Training in sophisticated statistical analysis of chronological datasets from living systems, either in an archaeological or ecological setting.
  • Applicants are expected to be enthusiastic about learning and exploring research topics in the archaeological and ecological sciences. They must also be willing to work as part of a research team, while simultaneously running their own research agenda.

Advantageous: 

  • Experience with various laboratory techniques in the biological sciences or archaeological sciences,
  • Experience working in South America or tropical regions, or with tree populations from around the globe.
  • Experience writing scientific peer-reviewed publication and research reports.
  • Knowledge in relevant languages (i.e. Portuguese).
  • Familiarity with the history and archaeology of South America and the New World tropics.


 

We offer:

  • Opportunities to learn new skills in the archaeological sciences
  • Integration into our interdisciplinary research group within the Max Planck Institute, as well as into collaborating Max Planck Institutes, and partnered German and Brazilian institutions.
  • Support for field and laboratory research as well as conference presentations.
  • Access to cutting-edge facilities and equipment
  • An excellent, friendly research environment
  • An English language working environment
  • Full funding for top applicants (3 years)

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more handicapped individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society also seeks to increase the number of women in the sciences and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Submit, by November 1st, 2017, a cover letter expressing your experience and interest in the topic, a proposal related to the information above (2 pages maximum, not including references and figures), your CV, and your undergraduate and master’s transcripts. Three referees should also submit reports by the deadline and it is the candidate’s responsibility to request these. Submissions will only be accepted if they are sent through the online application and are received in full by the first of November.

 
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