PhD student to join the Uhl-Lab

PhD student to join the Uhl-Lab

Job Description


Job Title: PhD student to join the Uhl-Lab
Accountable to:


Responsible for University of Greifswald 
Appointment March 2021

Location Greifswald , Germany 

Overview of the position: 

A PhD position is available starting in spring 2021 in Gabriele Uhl´s lab at the Zoological Institute and Museum of the University of Greifswald(Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences).

We investigate diverse topics in the fields of reproductive biology, behavioural ecology, functional morphology and systematics from an evolutionary perspective. In this DFG funded PhD project, we investigate spider chemical communication.

The chemical sense plays a pivotal role in all living beings. It is used to recognize and differentiate between chemicals that emanate from resources, from conspecifics or heterospecifics. In arthropods, sensing of all modalities other than vision is performed with modified cuticular sensilla, and there are specific sensilla for gustation e.g. (tip-pore) and olfaction (e.g. wall-pore). In spiders, there is clear evidence for gustation with tip-pore sensilla, however, wall-pore sensilla seem to be absent. Therefore, how spiders smell has remained a conundrum – despite a large body of behavioural evidence for olfaction. To explore the Wheres and Hows of spiders chemical sensing we focus on the wasp spider Argiope bruennichi, for which we have a sensilla map for all body appendages, know the volatile sex pheromone and can draw on a large body of knowledge on the species’ mating behaviour. The sensilla on walking legs and pedipalps will be explored as to differences in ultrastructure and physiological response to gustatory or olfactory signals. The in-depth studies on function will be complemented by an exploration of the spider chemosensory receptors and visualisation of receptor gene expression.

Our overall aim is a comprehensive contribution to our understanding of the structure, function and evolution of chemosensory organs within spiders and arthropods. The investigations will be performed in close collaboration with the Pheromone Group at the University of Lund (Christer Löfstedt, Hong-Lei Wang, Dan-Dan Zhang) and in tandem with another project that focusses on the ultrastructural aspects of the sensilla.



We are looking for an enthusiastic scientist with an MSc (or equivalent) in zoology, evolutionary biology or other related biological disciplines. Excellent spoken and written English skills and solid grasp of zoology and animal physiology are expected. Experience in electrophysiological methods are an asset. As the project will be conducted in close collaboration with the Pheromone Group in Lund it includes a longer research visit in Sweden.
The salary for positions is 65% of TVL13. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to contact Gabriele Uhl prior to applying if they have questions.  

The University would like to increase the proportion of women in areas in which they are underrepresented. Applications from women are particularly welcome and will be treated with priority if they have the same qualifications and as long as there are no clear reasons, which make a fellow applicant more suitable. Severely disabled applicants with the same qualifications will be considered with preference.


Application Process

Applications with all usual documents (cover letter, CV, research experience, reference letters, degree certificates, and a list of publications) are to be sent with via email (one PDF, max 5 MB) with reference to the job advertisement number 20/Wi47 by 04 January 2021 to:

University of Greifswald
Zoological Institute and Museum
Prof. Dr. Gabriele Uhl
General and Systematic Zoology
Loitzer Strasse 26
D- 17489 Greifswald