German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
Halle-Jena-Leipzig
 

Join the lab

Interested students are welcome to participate in the research conducted in our lab throughout the year. Open PhD and Postdoc positions will be announced at this page. We offer different topics for internships, bachelor and master theses and also welcome your ideas and suggestions for other thesis topics. Please find a selection of topics listed or request further topics by contacting Renske Onstein.

Internships

Students can visit our lab to perform internships at any time. Interns can learn a multitude of methods in evolutionary biology and the interchange between ecology and evolution. Interns can learn how to ask scientific questions and set up hypotheses, to design the research and collect data, and to analyse the data with statistical methods (e.g. comparative phylogenetic methods). Please send your CV and motivation to join the lab to Renske Onstein or the respective project leader. 

BSc & MSc theses

We offer many topics for bachelor and master theses in our working group. Finding the right topic is not easy and we are happy to introduce our topics to you in more detail or discuss further ideas.

Biogeography & frugivory of birds

This project investigates the global biogeography of birds in relation to deep-time geological change and the evolution of frugivory traits. Madagascar, compared to other tropical regions, is extremely poor in frugivorous birds, and we want to know why. We aim to understand when (frugivorous) birds colonised Madagascar and other (tropical) biomes, and how this may have affected in-site bird radiations in these regions. For more information, contact Renske Onstein. 

Trait-dependent extinctions

Due to ongoing climate change and human impact, many species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. We aim to understand which plant species, which functional groups and which places are most threatened with extinction and therefore need conservation prioritisation. For more information, contact Renske Onstein.

  

Bromeliaceae evolution

Do shifts in the photosynthetic pathway enable the radiation of wild relatives of the pineapple into dry biomes? The plant species of the pineapple family (Bromeliaceae, >3000 species) represent about 3% of all plant species in tropical America. Bromeliaceae are species-rich in habitats from wet evergreen tropical rainforests to semi-deserts and have evolved a variety of different life forms and photosynthetic types. The link between the evolutionary success of Bromeliaceae and their ability to colonise ecologically very distinct habitats is still unclear. This project aims to combine recent information on the geographic distribution of Bromeliaceae with data on photosynthetic pathways and phylogenetic information to reconstruct the evolution of photosynthesis and geographic distribution in the Bromeliaceae. For more information, please contact alexander.zizka@idiv.de.

The world’s savannas

Do plants in African savannas have larger distribution ranges than those in South America and Australia? If so, why? Savannas cover about one-fifth of Earths terrestrial surface, especially in the tropical parts of Africa and South America. Savannas are geologically relatively young, and many savannah plants evolved from tropical rainforest lineages. It is, however, unclear why especially parts of African savannas have a surprisingly low number of endemic species and if this is the case for across taxonomic groups. This project aims to estimate range sizes for savanna species based on existing distribution data and to compare average range sizes across taxonomic groups and continents. For more information, please contact alexander.zizka@idiv.de.

Open positions

There are currently no open positions.

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