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PhD position: Assessing non-target risks of candidates for the biological control of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe
12.11.2014

Background: The North American plant Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed, has become one of the flagship invasive alien species in Europe, causing severe health issues (allergies) and yield reductions in agriculture. While herbicides and mechanical control are well suited as local and short-term measures to control A. artemisiifolia, sustainable control strategies to reduce its abundance and spread as well as its pollen production in badly infested areas are lacking in Europe. One of the main objectives of the recently launched European COST action SMARTER (‘Sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe’; ragweed.eu) is to develop sustainable control strategies such as biological control (BC), an approach which has been successfully implemented against A. artemisiifolia in other continents.

PhD Position: Within this project, an exciting PhD position funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER) is available at CABI in Switzerland (cabi.org/about-cabi/cabi-centres/Switzerland), with the coordinator of the Working Group 1 (Biological Control) in SMARTER. The PhD aims to conduct biosafety studies with exotic insect species that are considered for BC of A. artemisiifolia in Europe. The goal is to combine standard biosafety tests (assessment of fundamental host-range) with new, innovative approaches that will strengthen the scientific quality of non-target risk assessment, specifically with regard to i) host-range testing under open-field conditions, and ii) prediction of the population dynamics of BC candidates prior to their release into a new environment, and iii) their impact on the population dynamics and spread of common ragweed.

The student will be based at the CABI Centre in Delémont, Switzerland, and registered at the University of Fribourg (www.unifr.ch). He/she will be closely collaborating with the research group of Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer (University of Fribourg; www.unifr.ch/ecology/groupmueller, Action chair of SMARTER) and conduct field work in North America and Israel.

More information on required competences and how to apply find in the original offer attached below.

See Attached files here:
PDF 129.54KB
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