PhD and a postdoctoral position

at the University of South Bohemia

Home-field advantage? Consequences of local adaptation among plants, soil, and mycorrhizal fungi for species conservation

Full-time position

University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Science is seeking a highly motivated PhD student and a postdoc to join a project aiming to test existence of local adaptations in orchid-fungus-soil tripartite system by reciprocal seed germination experiments with inoculations of soil by genotyped orchid mycorrhizal fungi and to create practical guidelines for in situ restoration of orchid populations.

Project description

The long‐term coexistence and co-evolution of terrestrial plants with associated soil microorganisms likely results in local co‐adaptations where growth and fitness of both symbionts are greatest in their shared soil environments. Local adaptation to biotic interactions may be particularly important for mycoheterotrophic plants that critically rely on mycorrhizal fungi for seed germination and subsequent growth, such as orchids. As knowledge on local adaptations in orchids is highly limited and might be critical for their successful restoration, we designed project testing local adaptations in orchids differing in fungal specificity using in vitro, pot culture and in situ reciprocal seed germination experiments. Seed sowing together with sympatric and allopatric genotyped fungal inoculants will provide straightforward test of possible adaptations in orchid-fungus-soil system disentangling all three components. Such experiment will be carried out for orchids for the first time. The results will be transformed into guidelines for managers of in situ restoration of orchid populations.


Both applicants will lead fieldwork in the Czech Rep., France and Italy during the first and the second year of the grant project, they will participate in isolation of orchid mycorrhizal fungi into culture and their molecular identification, they will design fungal microsatellites and species specific primers for qPCR, they will carry out tests of orchid-fungus-soil specificity in situ, in vitro and in mesocosm, and will take part in data analyses and manuscript writing.

About the employer 

The research is funded by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic for years 2022-2024. The position will be based at the Department of Biology of Ecosystems at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. The project will be supervised by a team of three researchers: team leader Assoc. Prof. Jana Jersáková (Czech Republic), Prof. Marc-Andre Selosse from MNHN in Paris (France) and Assoc. Prof. Karl Duffy from University of Naples Federico II (Italy).

Required skills of PhD candidate

  • a MSc. degree in the relevant field
  • ability to work as a team member, but also being independent
  • driving license valid in the European Union!
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • skills in techniques used in mycorrhizal research is an advantage
  • basic background in molecular tools (PCR, RFLP, cloning) is an advantage

Required skills of postdoc candidate

  • a Ph.D. degree in the relevant field (in early spring 2022 at the latest)
  • ability to work as a team member, but also being independent
  • reasonable publication record proportional to the end of study
  • driving license valid in the European Union!
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • skills in techniques used in mycorrhizal research is an advantage
  • basic background in molecular tools (PCR, RFLP, cloning), knowledge of next generation sequencing methods, qPCR and microsatellites is an advantage


Salary on the basis of local standards, including health insurance and social advantages.

A PhD. candidate – monthly 17 000 CZK brutto + 10 000 CZK net state scholarship, 301,000 CZK net annual income.

A postdoc candidate – monthly 40 000 CZK brutto, 383,000 CZK net annual income. The cost of living in the Czech Republic is generally low compared to other countries in Europe (http://www.studyin.cz/living-costs/).

Further particulars

These positions would ideally start from February 2022, latest start in April 2022 and will last till December 2024. Ceske Budejovice is a medium-sized town ca. 150 km south of Prague with 100,000 inhabitants, a relaxed atmosphere, and a growing community of foreign scientists at the University and the Biology Centre. Both the town and the surrounding countryside provide numerous opportunities for research and leisure activities. Living costs are low by international standards. Courses of Czech language are provided for foreign staff to reach a basic level of proficiency in everyday situations.

Closing date: open until filled


For additional information please contact:

Assoc. Prof. Jana Jersakova



Prepare a cover letter explaining your interest in the position. Give the names and email addresses of one to two people with first-hand knowledge of your skills and past research experience. Add a curriculum vitae including a publication list (3 pages maximum). Send your completed application in a single pdf file to the principal investigator (jersa@prf.jcu.cz). Call for applications open until the position is filled. Preference will be given to applications received by 31. January 2022. After pre-selection, an on-line interview will be organized.